Amid the doom and gloom in the national media, you might have assumed that Britain’s rail users are less satisfied than ever before. In fact, according to the figures published by Passenger Focus this week, the opposite is true. The Autumn 2012 National Passenger Survey found 85% satisfied with their overall journey and just 5% dissatisfied – a record for the industry.

No train operator scored less than 80% for overall satisfaction and many saw significant improvements. InterCity operators East Coast and Virgin Trains each achieved an overall satisfaction score of 92% – up five and four percentage points respectively on Autumn 2011.

Abellio’s Greater Anglia boosted its score by six percentage points, achieving an 83% score that places it firmly among its peers.

Open access operator Grand Central led the whole pack with 96% satisfaction. Northern Rail got the lowest rating – 80%.

Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability, the key driver of overall satisfaction, was 83% last autumn, up two percentage points on the same period of 2011.

“Passengers are saying the quality of rail services is improving,” Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith observed. “The combination of increased income from fares, government investment and a clearer focus on performance and dealing with disruption is beginning to pay off.”

However, Smith said more work needs to be done. Satisfaction on individual routes still varies wildy, ranging from 76% on Northern’s Manchester and Liverpool services to 97% on the South West Trains-operated Island Line.

Meanwhile, less than half (47%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of the price of their ticket. This figure falls to 33% for users of South West Trains’ Reading/Windsor services and rises to 75% on Grand Central’s London-Bradford route.


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