ScotRail passenger satisfaction slumps

ScotRail has blamed the Beast for the East for its reduced score. Picture: Danny Lawson
ScotRail has blamed the Beast for the East for its reduced score. Picture: Danny Lawson
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Passenger satisfaction with ScotRail has slumped from record levels, watchdog Transport Focus revealed today.

Happiness with Scotland's main train operator slumped by six percentage points to 84 per cent compared to last spring.

That is just one point above ScotRail's lowest score in the survey for 14 years - 83 per cent in autumn 2016.

ScotRail blamed major disruption caused by the Beast from the East snowfall on 28 February on the poor result.

Transport Focus said poor punctuality - which prompted ScotRail to launch an improvement plan - was another factor.

The survey of nearly 1,400 ScotRail passengers between January and March also showed satisfaction significantly down in other areas, such as ticket prices and lack of seats in stations.

Satisfaction with cross-Border operators was higher, even though most were down several points on a year ago.

Virgin Trains West Coast’s Scottish services scored 89 per cent, while those on Virgin Trains East Coast got 87 per cent. CrossCountrycorr and TransPennine Express were on 86 per cent.

The ScotRail scores which fell the most were for station cleanliness, upkeep and seating, and train punctuality, frequency and ticket prices.

ScotRail fares increased by 3.2 per cent in January - the most for five years.

However, passengers were least happy with lack of car parking space - 37 per cent - and how the firm dealt with delays - 39 per cent, which was 15 points down on last spring.

Fewer than half were satisfied with internet reliability.

By contrast, top scores were for station staff (93 per cent) journey times (89) and train information at stations (88).

The survey placed ScotRail in 11th place among 26 British train operators, and just above the 81 per cent satisfaction average.

ScotRail has said the first of its two delayed new fleets of trains will start running by the end of next month to ease crowding.

A further stand-in fleet is due to go into service on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line by the end of this month.

BACKGROUND: 9 out of 10 passengers satisfied with ScotRail, finds report

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Passengers welcome the investment in improving Scotland’s railway but this must be delivered hand in glove with the daily delivery of improved punctuality, the key driver of passenger satisfaction, so that the benefits of the investment are not lost in dissatisfaction with late-running trains.”

Alex Hynes, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance with Network Rail said: “For more than four out five customers to be satisfied with ScotRail, despite the challenges we faced during the Beast from the East, is down to the hard work of our people.

"They go above and beyond the call of duty every single day.

“But we know that our customers demand more from ScotRail.

"We are on the cusp of delivering a major transformation of Scotland’s railway, which will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and better services for our customers.”

READ MORE: Inside Transport - This is ScotRail’s Achilles’ heel