Rail passengers dissatisfied with train punctuality

Passengers on a crowded train
Image caption Many passengers said they were unhappy with the amount of space available in carriages

The number of passengers satisfied with train punctuality and reliability has gone down, according to a customer survey.

The proportion of passengers satisfied with punctuality and reliability is at 80%, down from 82% in spring 2010.

The proportion of passengers who say their ticket represents value for money has also decreased, the survey by rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus said.

More than 32,000 passengers were surveyed earlier this year.

The survey did find that a total of 84% of passengers were satisfied with their overall rail journey, compared with 83% in a similar survey in spring 2010.

But the amount of passengers satisfied with value for money for their ticket price also fell, down to 44% in spring 2011 compared with 48% at the same time the previous year.

The proportion of passengers who considered that they were getting value for money for their ticket ranged from 32% for First Capital Connect (FCC) and Southeastern, to 64% for Merseyrail.

Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability ranged from 74% for FCC to 97% for Heathrow Express.

And the level of people who are satisfied with the amount of room on their train ranged from 59% for FCC to 91% for First Hull Trains.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "The rail industry needs to redouble efforts to make sure that poor performance is spotted, understood and addressed.

"These scores are a salutary reminder of just how much some passengers are paying to use the railway.

"The next three years will see passengers hit by above-inflation fare increases. This must be the end of the era of massive fare hikes.

"Passengers are paying more than their share. It is now up to the industry to reduce its costs."

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "Record levels of overall passenger satisfaction reflect operators' commitment to providing the high quality services that people expect and deserve.

"Passengers are as satisfied with their overall service now as they have been at any time since these surveys began.

"There have been improvements in a number of areas when compared to spring last year, including the upkeep of stations and the information provided during passengers' journeys.

"Although satisfaction with reliability and punctuality remains high, a drop in the score is likely to reflect disruption caused by heavy snowfall during a particularly tough winter."

Mr Roberts added that the survey "also shows where improvements are needed".

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, said: "This survey shows that only a minority of rail passengers think they are getting value for money and that figure will drop like a stone as fares rocket over the coming years.

"Compare that with the massive surge in profits posted by [transport company] Stagecoach today and you can see clearly just where all the money is going - not into services but into the coffers of the private rail companies."

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