By Lauren Howells

Only a third of commuters think that they are getting value for money for their train journeys, according to the latest National Rail Passenger Survey by Transport Focus.

Only 47% of respondents overall and 33% of commuters believed they were getting value for money

Out of more than 27,000 passengers who took part in the largest published rail passenger satisfaction survey in the world, only 47% of respondents overall and 33% of commuters, believed that they were getting value for money for their journeys.

Overall passenger satisfaction varied from operator to operator

Although overall, 81% of passengers nationally and 73% of commuters were satisfied with their journey, passenger satisfaction varied from operator to operator. Among the lowest scoring were Southern, with only 72% of passengers satisfied overall with their journey and TfL Rail and South Western Railway, both with 75% of passengers satisfied with their journey.

However, passenger satisfaction dropped to 64% for South Western Railway passengers travelling during peak times. Transport Focus said that performance on South Western Railway had struggled to recover since the “major disruption” which involved the upgrade at London Waterloo.

Transport Focus has called South Western Railway and Network Rail to a special Board meeting to “explain the poor performance”

Transport Focus said that it had recently called South Western Railway and Network Rail to a special Board meeting to “explain the poor performance, their approach to managing disruption and investment plans” and confirmed that it would continue to press for improvement.

Only 1 in 3 commuters satisfied that train journeys are value for money

Operators that faired the best for passenger satisfaction were Grand Central (96%), Hull Trains (95%) and Virgin Trains East Coast (92%).

In January this year, it was reported that rail fairs had risen by an average of 3.4% across the UK, the biggest price increase in 5 years.

“…these value for money scores reflect patchy reliability…”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said:

“For passengers, it’s all about performance – these value for money scores reflect patchy reliability. In London and the South East, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern passengers have felt performance pick up. However, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales passengers, among others, have been buffeted by poorer performance.

“Train companies and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance and better information during the disruption.”

The survey also revealed that overall satisfaction of the new Thameslink trains was up by 13% and that passenger ratings for the new London Bridge station, only partially open during the survey period, had also gone up.

“…the British passenger continues to pay the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed-out, unreliable services…”

Transport union RMT said that the survey showed that passengers were getting a “raw deal” on Britain’s “rip-off, privatised railways”.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said that the survey findings once again reinforced the case for “an end to profiteering, and a return to public ownership”.

Cash continued:

“The bottom line is that the British passenger continues to pay the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed-out, unreliable services where private profit comes before public safety.  It is no surprise that the surge of support for public ownership of our railways continues to grow and it is now no longer a case of if our rail services will return to public hands, it’s a question of when.”