Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 10:01 UK

Trains are 'not value for money'

A worker on a railway line
Train operators say they continue to invest in rail infrastructure

Only four out of 10 rail passengers feel they get value for money, a survey by a rail watchdog suggests.

The report by Passenger Focus also says people are 5% less satisfied with the value of services than they were in autumn 2007.

Satisfaction ratings fell for 13 companies since spring 2007, rose for seven and stayed the same for one.

However, 80% of the 25,000 people surveyed in the new poll were satisfied with journey quality, 2% up on 2007.

Fare hikes

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: "The value for money offered by all train companies remains a primary concern for more than half of the passengers we surveyed.

"And, with our research showing that value for money is passengers' number one priority, surely this must be addressed by the industry."

Gerry Doherty, leader of the TSSA rail union, highlighted recent fare increases as a key source of passenger dissatisfaction.

With 80% of rail journeys made on discounted tickets, we need to understand why value-for-money ratings are not reflecting those improvements
Michael Roberts

Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc)

He said: "Each year passengers face inflation-plus increases on the most expensive and overcrowded network in Europe.

"It is time to stop the fares price escalator and provide passengers with an affordable railway."

But Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc), said there had been a major investment programme that would drive up customer satisfaction.

He said: "Train operators and Network Rail continue to work hard to improve the railway for passengers.

"With punctuality levels now at a near all-time high and 80% of rail journeys made on discounted tickets, we need to understand why value-for-money ratings are not reflecting those improvements."

The latest Passenger Focus survey was conducted at about 650 stations between January and March 2008.

Created by the Railways Act 2005 to represent the interests of rail users, Passenger Focus is the operating name of the Rail Passengers Council. It is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Transport.


SEE ALSO
Rail fares 'set to be simplified'
24 Apr 08 |  Business

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