Only a third of rail commuters think train fares are value for money

Created February 2nd, 2018 by Alex Watts

Only one in three commuters believes their rail fare is value for money, according to a new national survey.

The passenger watchdog Transport Focus asked 27,000 passengers to rate aspects of their journeys in the autumn and the results revealed the level of dissatisfaction many still have with the rail service in the UK.

As reported by The Guardian, while 47% of passengers felt they had paid a fair price for their ticket, only 33% of those commuting to work were satisfied with its value.

Train fares continue to rise

Rail fares have continued to climb above inflation with an average 3.4% rise in January, and up to 3.6% on most season tickets.

Many frequent train travellers are frustrated that the quality of service has not improved as prices have increased, with passengers using South Western Railway growing increasingly dissatisfied according to the study.

Southern remained in bottom place, with just 72% of passengers satisfied overall with their last journey. TransPennine Express passengers were the least satisfied with the level of crowding on their trains, at 58%.

Unreliable rail services

The watchdog’s chief executive, Anthony Smith, said investment had improved services, but added: “The thing of paramount importance to passengers everywhere, of all ages and types, across the country, is that their service is reliable. Investing is great, and there’s a feel-good uplift, but only so long as the performance is there – if you’re stuck on a new train, it’s still late.”

Smith also noted that ticketing practices which continue to penalise lower-paid and part-time workers were discriminatory. For instance, season tickets still have to be purchased from train companies in one lump sum.

He added: “Women tend to be a higher proportion of part-time workers, who can’t access the same discounts – that is not fair.”

The highest-scoring train operators were Grand Central on 96%, Hull Trains on 95% and Virgin Trains East Coast on 92%. Virgin said that the high scores reflected an £140m investment in the route.

Elswhere, the availability and performance of wifi on trains was another one of the biggest passenger gripes, with only one in three satisfied with the Internet service on their commute.

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