Commenting on a report published by Which?, showing that Scotrail performance is ranked 23rd of 30 UK operators, Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles said: “The Scottish Government had an opportunity to put this right in the autumn but ministers were more concerned about bad publicity than addressing passenger needs. Instead of warning Abellio Scotrail of fines and a withdrawal of the contract unless rail performance improved, it decided the company would have a free pass to ignore penalties for missing targets until June 2019.
“I welcome this report, it highlights that the Scottish Government need to start taking their responsibility for the problems in our rail network seriously. It is no good blaming Network Rail which operate across the whole of the UK when it is only Scotrail that is plummeting in the UK rankings.”
Notes for editors:
- See the full Which? press release and report below:
Strictly embargoed until 00:01 Friday 25 January
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ScotRail woes exposed in latest Which? passenger survey
Passengers have made their dissatisfaction with ScotRail clear after the operator achieved another dismal result in the annual Which? rail survey.
In a year of performance so weak that the Transport Scotland put the operator on an improvement plan, ScotRail achieved a lowly customer score of just 45 per cent. Last year it received a score of 50 per cent.
The train operator, whose services account for 95 per cent of passenger journeys in Scotland, was rated poorly across a number of categories, achieving just two stars for punctuality, reliability and value for money.
It performed marginally better in several other categories, receiving three stars for aspects such as customer service and the condition of carriages.
It finished 23rd out of 30 train companies in the UK overall. Northern and Thameslink, whose passengers suffered as a result of the disastrous timetable changes last year, were the lowest ranked operators, alongside Southern Railway. All three achieved a customer score of less than 40 per cent.
Smaller companies serving fewer passengers scored the highest in the survey, with Island Line Trains’ commuters giving it the highest customer score of 68 per cent.
Commuters - including ScotRail passengers - told the consumer champion about the impact delays had on their lives. A quarter (25%) of ScotRail commuters said they find travelling by train frequently stressful, nearly one in five (18%) said they missed out on time with family and friends and one in 10 (10%) said they faced additional childcare costs.
Distrust of the rail industry continues to climb among Scottish passengers, according to the latest figures from Which?’s Consumer Insight Tracker. It now stands at 26 per cent, seven percentage points higher than a year ago.
Which? believes the Transport Scotland improvement plan must address the systemic problems that blight their services, with a clear focus on acting on some of the main areas of passenger concern highlighted in the survey.
The UK government, through its rail review, also has an opportunity to scrutinize the rail industry in devolved nations and ensure that the rail regulator has a clearer duty to stand up for passengers.
Alex Hayman, Which? Managing Director of Public Markets, said:
“It’s clear that ScotRail passengers aren’t at all happy with the service they’re receiving on a daily basis.
“If faith in the company is to be restored, it must listen to passengers who have too often been an afterthought.
“Transport Scotland’s improvement plan must deliver results that work for passengers and address the chronic issues identified in our survey.”
Notes to editors
- In October 2018, 10,000 members of the UK general public completed an online survey about their experiences of travelling with UK train operators. The survey is designed to give a snapshot view of what passengers think of the train operating companies that they have used for either leisure or commuting journeys over the last 12 months. To qualify to take the survey respondents must have either used the train once in the last year (leisure) or at least once in the last month (commuter). Respondents were able to comment on more than one train operating company for both leisure and commuting journeys and thus we were able to report on 11,496 leisure passenger experiences and 3,994 commuting passenger experiences. We required a minimum of 50 responses per train operating company. Sample sizes are in brackets. The more stars the better. ‘-’ means’ that the service isn’t available or that we didn’t achieve enough responses for that service.
Customers’ perceptions of how many trains arrive and depart on time.
How reliable those who answered the survey feel the service is, taking into account cancellations, delays, broken-down trains and early terminations.
Including aisles and doorways.
Availability of on board toilet facilities and cleanliness.
Combines satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the train company to others.
Frequency of trains, customer service, value for money, availability of seats and condition of carriages were the other areas looked at.
- The Which? Consumer Insight Tracker website is an online data resource, providing a uniquely detailed picture of today’s consumers. Our tracker survey, running every two months, measures consumer worries, trust, and financial distress. It can be filtered by age, income, gender or region, and goes back to June 2012. Populus, on behalf of Which?, conduct bi-monthly surveys of 2000 consumers to gauge perception and attitudes to the consumer landscape. For the latest wave, they surveyed 2056 UK adults online between 14th-15th November 2018. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of the UK population.