Passenger satisfaction with ScotRail has bounced back from a 14-year low to equalling its record highest
The rebound follows major disruption caused by upgrading work, punctuality problems and strikes.
However, the rating in the twice-yearly National Rail Passenger Survey by watchdog Transport Focus remains lower than two of the largest cross-Border operators.
Virgin Trains’ west coast services scored 92 per cent while Virgin Trains East Coast achieved 91 per cent.
ScotRail’s improvement included a record rating for dealing with delays - a past Achilles heel - which increased by 11 points to 54 per cent and the highest since the survey started 18 years ago.
However, Transport Focus highlighted a significant decline in the score for satisfaction with personal security on trains, down nine points to 79 per cent, and car parking, down 12 points to 37 per cent.
Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “It is good news that after poor results in autumn last year, passengers in Scotland have seen improvements in satisfaction. After a concerted effort to improve punctuality, ScotRail are now back to their former high scores.”
Transport minister Humza Yousaf attributed the score to the performance improvement plan he ordered when punctuality fell in 2016.
ScotRail managing director Alex Hynes said: “These results are really encouraging, but we aren’t complacent. The major investment we are making now will mean faster journeys, more seats and better services for our customers.”
The Scottish Conservatives singled out value for money for improvement, with 61 per cent of passengers satisfied with fares, although that was up two points.
Transport spokesman Jamie Greene said: “It’s welcome to see overall satisfaction is increasing, and it’s important to acknowledge the efforts of ScotRail staff in achieving this.
“However these results still show that there are still several areas of concern, with passengers still not feeling like they are getting value for money from their train service.
“It’s deeply concerning to see there are many more passengers who do not feel safe on board trains, and with many also criticising the car parking and ticket buying facilities at stations, it shows there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Neil Bibby, his Scottish Labour counterpart, said: “Railway workers should be thanked for their hard work and perseverance in what has been a difficult year for ScotRail. However, passengers will still want to see continued action to tackle overcrowding and improve ScotRail services.”
Scottish Greens transport spokesman John Finnie said: “The challenge for ScotRail and the Scottish Government is to ensure these results become the norm and prove this survey wasn’t a fluke.”
A total of 1,200 ScotRail passengers were polled between January and April.
Cross-Border operator CrossCountry’s satisfaction rating was up two points to 88 per cent while TransPennine Express was down one to 86 per cent.
Highlights from the survey include:
- 92 per cent are satisfied with the speed of ScotRail journeys
- 85 per cent are satisfied with ScotRail’s punctuality and reliability
- 83 per cent are satisfied overall with ScotRail station facilities
- 82 per cent are satisfied overall with ScotRail train facilities