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Northern scores well in national passenger survey

February 24, 2011

Passenger Focus’ recently published national passenger satisfaction survey from August 2010 shows a good performance by Northern Rail with significantly improved scores on several fronts.

Overall Northern achieved 82% satisfaction – the same as in the last two surveys, and just 2% below the national average which, at 44%, was the highest recorded since the surveys began in 1999. In reality Northern’s score is almost bound to be lower than the national average because of the aged train fleet it has been allocated and the fact it serves some of the most socially deprived areas of the country.

Looking more closely at Northern’s results the company scored big improvements in trains’ exterior cleanliness (up 12%), how well delays are handled (8%), toilet facilities (6%), station cleanliness and car parking facilities (both up 5%). On the debit side the biggest falls were in punctuality/reliability, sufficient room for passengers, and ease of being able to get on and off – all down by 3%.
Initially surprising is the fact that satisfaction with value for money of ticket prices also increased 4% to 63%. However the survey was conducted before this January’s 5 to 10% rises were announced so presumably this score would be somewhat lower if the survey was repeated now.

It is perhaps worth noting that none of the 1027 Northern Rail passengers surveyed were interviewed at intermediate stations between Wigan and Victoria.

Finally – as a salutary reminder of the illusory nature of statistics – Britain’s highest rated train company, the Wrexham and Shropshire with an amazing 96% overall passenger satisfaction, sadly went out of business last month due to insufficient passenger numbers.

The full survey can be downloaded from the Passenger Focus website.

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