Scotland

ScotRail passenger satisfaction falls

scotrail train Image copyright PA

Passenger satisfaction with ScotRail services dropped in the second half of last year, according to a nationwide survey of rail users.

The survey found overall satisfaction fell from 90% last spring - which had been a record high for ScotRail - to 85% in the autumn.

The figure remained higher than the 81% average across the UK.

Passengers using the train to commute to and from work tended to be the least happy with ScotRail.

The survey was carried out by passenger watchdog Transport Focus, which questioned about 1,400 ScotRail passengers across Scotland.

It showed satisfaction with ticket prices, punctuality and overcrowding had all decreased since the previous survey.

The 85% satisfaction level was the second lowest recorded for ScotRail in the survey in the past five years - but remained slightly higher than the 83% recorded in the autumn of 2016.

And ScotRail received the best customer satisfaction rating of all the largest operators across the UK.

Image copyright Transport Focus

What else did the survey say about ScotRail?

Satisfaction levels in the vast majority of categories covered by the survey were lower in the autumn of last year than they had been in the spring.

Overcrowding appeared to be an increasing concern for many ScotRail passengers, with satisfaction falling by eight percentage points to 71%.

The percentage of people who felt their ticket offered value for money fell from 62% to 59%, while satisfaction with the frequency of trains fell from 86% to 80% and satisfaction with train punctuality dropped from 85% to 82%.

Passengers also highlighted concerns over the availability of wi-fi, seating, toilets and ticket buying facilities at Scottish rail stations.

But satisfaction in most Scottish categories remained higher than the UK average.

What has the reaction been?

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said the survey was a "clear sign of the progress ScotRail is making".

He added: "The evidence of this was clearer than ever in recent weeks, as our people in ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland kept customers moving during the worst of the winter snow and ice.

"We aren't complacent, and we're working hard to build the best railway that Scotland has ever had.

"The investment we are making in new and refurbished trains will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and better services for our customers across Scotland."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said it was essential that ScotRail and Network Rail continue their focus on ensuring that most trains arrive on time, with few cancellations and with carriages of the right length.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf tweeted: "Still work to do but my thanks to railway staff for all their hard work."

But the Scottish Conservatives said it was no surprise to see satisfaction levels fall - and claimed that the "great work that staff on our railways perform is undermined by overcrowding, overpriced tickets and an unreliable service".

How are things elsewhere in the UK?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Satisfaction with Southern trains was the lowest in the UK

Overall satisfaction with the UK's various rail operators in the autumn of last year was 81% - two percentage points lower than in the spring, but identical to the previous autumn.

Grand Central topped the satisfaction table at 96%, followed by Hull Trains (95%) and Virgin Trains East Coast (92%).

Southern was the lowest-ranked operator with a score of 72%, although this was up seven percentage points from a year earlier.

South Western Railway (SWR) suffered the largest year-on-year decline in satisfaction, from 83% to 75%.

Performance on SWR routes has struggled to recover since major disruption caused by the upgrade at London Waterloo during the summer.

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