National satisfaction on the railways varies significantly across different routes and train operating companies, official statistics from the National Passenger Survey show, when 30,590 passengers were surveyed in autumn 2011.

National satisfaction overall was 84%, the same as the score for Autumn 2010, but this ranged from 72-95% for individual routes. Punctuality was rated at 81% nationally, ranging from 68-97%. Satisfaction with value for money ranged from 27-80%, with the average at 46%, decreased from 49% in 2010. In terms of sufficient room for passengers to sit or stand, satisfaction varied from 53-95%.

First Capital Connect and London Overground improved significantly in satisfaction, whereas South West Trains and First Hull Trains both declined. Grand Central had the highest rating, with 95% of passengers satisfied.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: “The experience of Great Britain’s passengers’ ranges from mediocre to good. This demonstrates that there is no such thing as the average passenger. Satisfaction with value for money has gone down, illustrating the impact that tough economic times, coupled with fare rises, are having.

“These results will enable the industry and government to focus resources and effort where passenger satisfaction remains in the doldrums. It can be done and passengers will give them credit when investment and proactive management coincide.

“We know from this research that performance remains the key passenger priority. Train companies and Network Rail must keep up a relentless attention on getting trains on time, not only at the end of their routes, but at stations along the way as well. Passengers are still paying above inflation fares rises and have every right to expect the industry to keep its basic promise to get them there on time.”

Michael Roberts, chief executive of ATOC, said: “Overall customer satisfaction remains at a record high level, though the survey results by route show that while there has been progress in many areas, there is no room for complacency.

“We recognise that value for money scores remain lower than others and the whole industry needs to focus on tackling costs as well as improving services.

“The industry has already set out plans to cut the annual cost of the railway by £1.3bn a year by 2019 as a way to help limit future fare rises.”

Grand Central managing director, Tom Clift, said: “I am delighted that Grand Central has again achieved an overall satisfaction score of 95%. This is a ringing endorsement of Open Access as well as a testament to the skill and hard work of our dedicated and friendly staff.

“As our contribution to improving the environment of some of the stations we serve Grand Central has committed £400,000 to undertake improvement works at stations including Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate.”

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Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment