Rail passengers in London and the South East and Scotland are more satisfied with
their railway journeys after a long period of patchy performance.
Transport Focus's has just published the latest National Rail Passenger Survey which measured satisfaction of more than more than 27,000 passengers in Spring.
What is notable this time, is that the overall satisfaction figure for London and South East train companies has shifted from 79 per cent last Spring to 82 per cent in this Spring 2017. The figures for peak time services, when most passengers are using the railway, are even more marked.
The survey shows that a period of more stable performance has led to improvements in passengers' experience. No train company's overall satisfaction figures declined.
The figures for Southern in particular show a significant recovery in passengers' experience with a number of factors including the helpfulness and availability of on board staff and also of staff at the station. Southeastern also saw their overall satisfaction scores increase by 10 per cent. One reason is there has been a slight upturn in the performance measures – albeit from a low point.
There is, therefore, some way to go. Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Southeastern have the lowest scores. These green shoots we are seeing are fragile and need nurturing. This recovery will be under pressure from upgrade works, industrial relationship problems and rising passenger numbers. So the industry needs to keep a relentless, ongoing focus on performance and reliability. This is the main thing we passengers buy from the railways: reliability.
A particular bright spot in these results are those for ScotRail. They suffered a significant drop in their satisfaction score last Autumn. But after a concerted effort to improve punctuality, they are back to their former high scores: 90 per cent this time.
The National Rail Passenger Survey and the passenger voice it captures continues to be a key driver of change on the railways. Used in, among other places, franchise contracts, business plans, improvement plans and station surveys it drives improvements all over Great Britain.