Scotland

ScotRail passenger satisfaction falls to 16-year low

scotrail train Image copyright PA

Passenger satisfaction with ScotRail services has fallen to a 16-year low, according to a survey of rail users.

The survey, carried out by passenger watchdog Transport Focus, found that four out of five customers are satisfied with ScotRail.

But the 79% score for autumn last year is the lowest rate for that period since 2002 with delays and the late delivery of new trains being blamed.

The ScotRail satisfaction rate is the same as the average across the UK.

A total of 1,200 ScotRail customers were surveyed by Transport Focus about journeys taken between September and November last year.

The watchdog compared the 79% 2018 rate with previous autumn rates and found it is the lowest since 2002, when 83% of passengers were satisfied.

Satisfaction falling

David Sidebottom, director of Transport Focus, said: "ScotRail and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance as well as better information during disruption.

"A better value for money and more reliable railway must arrive soon for passengers.

"While services have fallen well short of what passengers deserve, ScotRail's extra compensation is welcome and will go some way to rebuild passenger trust."

The Transport Focus survey shows satisfaction with ScotRail punctuality has fallen to 72% from 82% in the autumn of 2017.

Image copyright Transport Focus
Image caption The trend shows ScotRail passenger satisfaction rates are falling

Over the same period, satisfaction with how well delays are handled by ScotRail is at 39%, down from 51% in the previous autumn.

The period when the survey was undertaken saw Scotland's rail network affected by a number of storms, cancellations and delays to the introduction of new trains.

The scale of the cancellations prompted the Scottish government to order ScotRail to come up with an improvement plan.

When Abellio took over the ScotRail franchise in April, 2015, satisfaction rates were at 87%.

The rate then peaked at 90% in the spring of 2017, and has been falling since.

Across the board, commuters felt they were getting a worse deal than leisure passengers, with just 29% of those travelling at peak times describing their trip as value for money,

On the cross-border services, customer satisfaction rates for last autumn varied with Virgin Trains at 90%, London North Eastern Railway at 87%, Cross Country at 81% and TransPennine Express at 73%.

Image copyright Transport Focus
Image caption Leisure travellers are the most satisfied of ScotRail customers

Phil Campbell, ScotRail's head of customer operations, pointed out satisfaction among leisure travellers, the rail operator's largest customer group, stood at 91% - its highest level since spring, 2016.

He added: "While it's good news that four out of five of our customers are satisfied with ScotRail, we know there is much more to do given the challenges we have faced in recent months.

"Everyone at ScotRail is working flat out to deliver the improved service our customers expect and deserve."

Meanwhile, ScotRail has revealed a fault which forced it to shut all of its charging points for electric cars last May has still not been fully resolved.

The rail operator has 50 charging points in its car parks across the country but they were switched off for repairs.

A total of 25 are operational again and ScotRail said the rest of the repairs "will be complete by the spring".

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