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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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82% of rail passengers satisifed - NRPS

Overall satisfaction scores in the Passenger Focus Spring 2014 National Rail Passenger Survey have remained steady. 

Around 27,000 passengers took part in the survey, published on June 25, and the verdict was that 82% of them remain satisfied with their last journey. This is the same figure as was recorded in the Spring 2013 survey and one percentage point lower than the 83% recorded in the Autumn 2013 survey.

Satisfaction between train operators varied from 72% to 96%, while results on specific routes varied even more (69% to 96%).

Hull Trains recorded the highest overall satisfaction at 96%, compared with 86% in the Autumn 2013 survey. The lowest score was recorded by Southeastern, which received a score of 72% (down from 78% in Spring 2013 results and 84% in Autumn 2013. This is also 4% worse than the lowest Autumn 2013 score (Southern’s 76%).

Satisfaction across the industry with punctuality and reliability was similar to the previous spring, at 77% (78% in 2013). The biggest improvement in satisfaction was with the value for money of ticket price (up three percentage points to 45%). The biggest decline was with sufficient room for passengers (down 2pp to 65%).

“Getting trains on time is the key factor underpinning passenger satisfaction, while how delays are dealt with is the key factor behind scores for passengers’ dissatisfaction,” said Passenger Focus Chief Executive Anthony Smith. 

“Satisfaction with value for money varies even more widely among operators. But, while still low, it has increased slightly from 42% to 45%. This is likely to reflect the Government’s decision to bear down on fare rises last year.”

Smith was referring to the announcement, ahead of the 2014 price rises, that ticket price increases had to be capped at inflation, instead of inflation plus 1% as in previous years.

The NRPS is conducted twice a year with around 30,000 passengers taking part, and asks for satisfaction ratings for around 30 factors of a passenger’s journey. The Spring 2014 survey ran from February to April. The next survey (for Autumn 2014) will be published in early 2015.

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