UK Survey: Attitudes towards rail travel

The UK Department for Transport has published the findings of an ONS Omnibus Survey from February 2006 covering public experiences of and attitudes towards rail travel. Key findings of the survey, designed to improve understanding of the public’s opinion of rail services, include:

* 49% of people surveyed had travelled by rail in the previous year and 9% of adults were frequent rail travellers who made short distance rail journeys at least once a week.

* Respondents were positive overall about rail services. 63% of respondents rated short distance services as good; 20% as poor. For long distance services the respective figures were 62% and 14%.

* Users of services were generally more positive than non-users. 70% of users rated short distance services as good, 56% of non users. For long distance services, the respective figures were 68% and 56%.

* Aspects of short distance services that received the highest ratings were: number of destinations; information about train times; and frequency of trains. The aspects of the services least likely to be rated as good were in relation to fares and personal safety.


* The main reasons people do not use trains or only do so infrequently are the perceived convenience of other modes of transport, the location of stations, and the cost of rail fares. The most common factors mentioned as likely to increase use of rail services were a reduction in the cost of fares, better location of stations, and improved frequency, reliability or speed of services.

* A fifth of short distance rail users felt their recent experiences of the service were better than expected and 72% felt that their expectations were met. On long distance services, 33% said their recent experiences were better than expected, and 7% felt they were worse than expected.