Inaugural Eurobarometer report shows UK public transport users are among Europe’s most satisfied

Public transport users in the UK are among the most satisfied in Europe, according to a new study published earlier this month by the European Commission.

Last September, the inaugural ‘Eurobarometer’ report surveyed 28,036 Europeans on their happiness with 12 aspects of urban public transport. The results were then amalgamated to create an overall ‘satisfaction index’. The findings were revealed at the Moving Together conference held in Paris this month by UITP, the international union of public transport.

According to the index, almost half of UK public transport users (48%) showed ‘high’ satisfaction, a figure only exceeded by Luxembourg and comfortably ahead of France (41%), The Netherlands (32%), Germany (27%) and Italy (22%).

Meanwhile, more than three quarters of UK public transport users (77%) showed ‘high’ or ‘good’ satisfaction – placing the UK as joint fifth on the EU satisfaction index league table.

The lowest satisfaction with urban public transport was registered in Malta, where Arriva recently surrendered a contract to operate the island’s bus network.

In terms of individual aspects of urban public transport, the UK ranked in the top three for cleanliness and maintenance of stops/stations (2nd), service frequency (2nd), availability of multi-modal tickets (3rd), the routes taken by different urban lines (3rd) and amenities for passengers at stops/stations (=3rd).

There were also high rankings for cleanliness and maintenance of carriages/vehicles (4th), passenger security (=4th), ease of buying tickets (=4th), the provision of information on connecting services (5th) and the provision of information about timetables (=5th).

The UK ranked less highly (9th) in terms of satisfaction with punctuality and reliability, with 73% users ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied. The EU average was 70%.

The UK’s lowest ranking (18th) was for satisfaction with the price of tickets. Almost two-fifths (39%) of UK public transport users were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with the price of tickets, a figure which matched the EU average. But satisfaction with the price of tickets was lower in Germany and The Netherlands (32% each).

“The results … show Europeans are mainly satisfied with their public transport, with frequency levels scoring particularly highly,” said Alain Flausch, UITP secretary general. “If we take into account the importance passengers give to each criterion, strong evidence shows that demand is much more sensitive to frequency than fares. More work needs to be done therefore to communicate to passengers the true cost of mobility.”

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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