This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
EURO RAIL EXPERTISE


The results of the European Commission’s latest survey into the travelling habits and opinions of rail passengers across the member states has been released – suggesting that Lithuania and Portugal may hold lessons for the rest of us, while Poland is not a place to take the train.


he latest Eurobarometer survey re- veals that some views are fairly com- mon to rail passengers regardless of the EU state in which they live: on average we are all most likely to be happy with the ease of buying tickets, timetable information and personal security in stations, for example, and least happy with car parking, the quali- ty of station facilities, and their cleanliness.


T


Overall, of the 25 countries surveyed, those doing a good job of providing satisfactory rail services included Lithuania, Spain, Luxembourg and Portgual, while Poland, Bulgaria and Romania had the most un- happy passengers. Readers will have prob- ably worked out why only 25 of the 27 EU states were surveyed: Cyprus and Malta do not have rail networks any more.


The majority of rail passengers across the continent are, unsurprisingly, infrequent leisure travellers, while just over 10% of passengers are frequent commuters, and 10% frequent business travellers.


German and Austrian rail passengers are the most dissatisfied with the ease of buy- ing tickets, with a significantly higher pro- portion of them unhappy (42% and 33% respectively) than the next worst country, the Netherlands (17% unhappy). The best performing country on this measure was Lithuania (5% unhappy), while the UK was around the middle of the league table, with 10% unhappy. This was better than the EU average of 18% unhappy, however.


Lithuania again topped the league for the number of passengers satisfied with train frequency, with 87% satisfied versus 10% dissatisfied. Finland came second (85% / 11%), while the UK was third of the 25 EU countries with rail networks (84% / 13%). Propping up the league table is Poland, where a startling 51% of rail passengers are unhappy with train frequency.


On scheduled journey times, the UK again does well (92% satisfied, 6% unsatisfied), coming second only to Portugal, while Po- land is again the laggard.


But Lithuania again must have something to teach the world on punctuality and reli- ability, with nobody “very dissatisfied” and only 3% “rather dissatisfied” on this meas-


• UK rail passengers making middle or long distance journeys were more satis- fied than German passengers on all 19 criteria. The UK also scores higher than France in 15 and above Italy in 14 of the criteria measured.


• The UK is above the EU average in 17 out of the 19 aspects of train services sur- veyed (the exceptions are capacity and availability of staff on trains).


• 87% of UK rail passengers were satisfied with reliability and punctuality – 35 per- centage points higher than in Germany, 24 percentage points higher than in Italy and 21 percentage points higher than the EU average.


• 84% of UK passengers are satisfied with the frequency of trains – 10 percentage points higher than Germany and 12 per- centage points higher than the EU aver- age


ure, against 96% rather or very satisfied. Ireland had by far the most ‘very satisfied’ passengers on this measure, at 56%.


The UK came in at sixth on punctuality and reliability, with 87% overall satisfied, com- pared to 13% unhappy.


The comfort of train seating areas, how- ever, is a different story: while all but 4% of the pampered Portugese were happy with their seats, 15% of UK passengers had complaints. The worst, again, was Poland, where 47% of passengers were unhappy with the seating arrangements.


The UK was right near the bottom of the league, however on seating capacity, at 22 out of 25. The country’s high population density may have some bearing on that, as the next worst in the league table, the Netherlands, is the only EU country with a higher population density than the UK.


In total, 61% of UK passengers were rather or very satisfied with seating capacity, be- low the EU average of 67%, and again far below the Lithuanians (93%) and Portug- ese (89%).


The UK Association of Train Operating Companies did its own analysis of the fig- ures, contrasting the UK with our bigger neighbours like Germany and Italy, noting:


• 92% of UK passengers were satisfied with the length of journey time – 13 per- centage points higher than France and 13 percentage points higher than the EU average.


Spokesman Edward Welsh said: “There is often a widespread perception that the rest of Europe is happier with their rail services than are UK passengers. But the European Commission’s opinion polling shows that the people surveyed in the UK were more satisfied with their train services than in many other countries on the continent.


“Significant investment in recent years has seen quicker and more punctual trains, better stations and an improved overall service for passengers in this country - something which has been reflected in suc- cessive independent customer satisfaction surveys. In terms of how passengers view middle and longer distance services, we now know that we also compare favourably with our European neighbours.


“But train companies can’t be complacent and will continue to work hard to address areas where we know that improvements need to be made.”


FOR MORE INFORMATION The full study is available at www.tinyurl. com/EUbarometer


rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11 | 59


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116