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Question: Which are the most important factors to YOU when you elect to travel by train?  (Voting closed: August 13, 2019, 02:14:21 pm)
Accessibility - 5 (1.4%)
Capacity of service - 41 (11.4%)
Catering - 7 (1.9%)
Cleanliness - 24 (6.7%)
Comfort and facilities at station - 13 (3.6%)
Comfort of train - 33 (9.2%)
Cost of use - 40 (11.1%)
Current and easy to find information - 16 (4.5%)
Facilities on train - 18 (5%)
Final Mile - getting to / from the stations - 10 (2.8%)
Frequency of service - 42 (11.7%)
Journey Duration - 29 (8.1%)
Nationalised or not - who operates the train - 1 (0.3%)
Professionalism of staff - 14 (3.9%)
Reliability of Service - 46 (12.8%)
Safety - 19 (5.3%)
Understandability of how to use the train - 1 (0.3%)
Total Voters: 58

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Author Topic: Which are the most important factors of a train journey to YOU?  (Read 5059 times)
grahame
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« on: August 10, 2019, 02:03:46 pm »

We discuss all sort of things - but which are really important?   Please select between 5 and 12 of the elements listed here - those which are MOST important to you - so that we can get a relative view of what our members think.   For the moment, this is a very rough and ready survey - I would hate Transport Focus to feel we're putting them out of a job Grin
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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 03:51:59 pm »

Not easy to choose in some cases.
For example I have NOT selected safety, not because I feel that safety is unimportant, but because I feel that that UK trains are already safe enough, and I would not want too many more extra safety features that add to costs and perhaps price people onto the less safe roads.

And of course so many of the questions are interconnected, If trains ran reliably and frequently, then station facilities would be relatively unimportant since little time would be spent at the station. If however the train service is infrequent or unreliable, then station facilities are of relatively greater importance.

In my view, by far the most important issue is capacity/train length. Followed by train comfort, then reliability, then frequency of service, then catering, then on board facilities (which I presume does not include catering, as that has a separate entry)
Some members may be surprised that I have not put catering first ! But train length is IMO of greater importance, though of course these two issue are again interrelated. Long distance trains should in my view be long enough to have seats for all AND catering, not one or the other.

In the longer term, with a growing population and more emphasis on rail rather than driving or flying, we need to plan for much longer trains. We cant carry on forever with infrastructure sized for the needs of a hundred years ago, or in many cases actually reduced from that existing previously.
I am not suggesting 18 car trains to the West country just yet ! but the need for such is in my view within sight.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2019, 06:21:31 pm »

Not easy to choose in some cases.
Agreed. To some extent, it depends on whether the question is 'why am I happy to travel by train in general?' (in which case things like safety matter hugely) or, 'given that I am intending to travel by train, which route/TOC do I use?'

I avoid CrossCountry's intercity routes where practical, or try to plan my journey around using one of their IC125s, because they are simply too busy and the interiors are not good enough. Reservations are essential (partly because of the 'advance purchase on the day' nonsense) and (particularly with the Voyagers) there's a good chance of being stuck with a window pillar to look at.

Journey time can also be a factor in which route I chose; particularly on the way in or out of Wales. If I'm heading somewhere north of Birmingham, then the Cambrian from Aberystwyth is normally a better option for me than using the Pembrokeshire stations.

And of course so many of the questions are interconnected, If trains ran reliably and frequently, then station facilities would be relatively unimportant since little time would be spent at the station. If however the train service is infrequent or unreliable, then station facilities are of relatively greater importance.
Indeed these things are linked, for example I'm considering NOT selecting capacity (I've not answered the poll yet, waiting for some clarification of the intent) because that's not the thing that actually makes my choice. What matters, ultimately, is comfort; but often an underlying cause of discomfort is a lack of capacity. No seats left = I sit on the floor = discomfort (and annoyance at not being able to see out of the windows).

However, I'd disagree that reliabily of the train service makes station facilities less important; at least not by itself. The reason is that improved train service reliability/punctuality does not make bus services also punctual and reliable. Thus you still need to allow a fair bit of time between train and bus when making connections; anything less that 10 minutes is probably a bit risky and anything longer than that is going to be very unpleasant on a cold winter's day when its blowing a gale. Unless of course the station has a fully enclosed waiting room that allows you to get out of the wind.
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2019, 07:24:42 pm »

1: Reliability
2: Reliability
3: Reliability
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2019, 08:38:38 pm »

For me, there are a lot of journeys I'd like to be able to take by train but can't - because trains don't go there (any more)...
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2019, 11:31:05 am »

Unashamed "bump" to bring up this "what's important to you?" poll for those of you who haven't completed it yet  Grin

http://gwr.passenger.chat/22054

Yes, I know the things interact. Yes, I know some things are "givens" these days.   Yes, I want to know what you are thinking about being important!
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johnneyw
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2019, 12:27:30 pm »

For me, there are a lot of journeys I'd like to be able to take by train but can't - because trains don't go there (any more)...

Totally agree. I will use local services even more as Metrowest develops and provides me with new opportunities and options. Regionally and beyond, I'm a customer-in-waiting for any new destinations that become available to me for exploration and leisure travel.
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broadgage
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2019, 01:47:07 pm »

I would use local trains more if we had any ! Nearest station is Minehead. Most years we have no regular through trains, this year we have a handful but only for a few days a year.

I used to use longer distance trains a lot more than I do now. I now avoid all but essential train travel due to the new trains. I am not fit enough to stand between Taunton and London, reserving a seat does not help as the reservations are unreliable and voided if a half length train turns up.
The hard seats and effective absence of catering also put me off.

Walk up fares are hugely expensive, and discounted advance tickets of little use to me as they carry the risk of the chosen date being a bad train day with disruption caused by events during which the railways used to operate normally.

Recently a friend visited and stayed a few nights. They drove from London "because the trains are so bad" And they could have used the train for free being railway staff.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2019, 05:39:26 am »

A day to go yet on this survey - and showing interesting early results. If you've not filled in the poll at http://www.passenger.chat/22054 please do so by lunchtime on Tuesday.  As the one who set it up I'm going to hold back comment until after the close ... I AM taking the "what do current knowing users want" initial reactions to a meeting today, as well as to one on Friday.
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Trowres
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2019, 10:06:01 pm »

There would be a significant difference in my answers depending on whether considering business or leisure travel.

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froome
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 07:39:37 am »

I have just submitted my vote. I think the survey heading is slightly misleading, as the survey text suggests what factors determine whether you elect to travel by train, which are different to those which are of concern once you are on the train.

Some are also too general - I've ticked facilities on the train, but I think that should be broken down into what facilities we see as most important. For me they would be:

a) Sufficient luggage space (I often have a Brompton bike with me or if not, then at least a large backpack).
b) Accessible and working toilets.
c) Basic and accurate information.

I also think the question about ownership is a bit disingenuous. I've not ticked it as I would travel by train regardless, but I think public ownership of trains is important to getting improved services, and wouldn't want a lack of vote as being seen as a vote against that.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 09:08:29 am »

Comments noted and read ... but I'm not going to make any further comment on the comments until the poll is closed (this afternoon) and indeed it will probably take me 24 to 48 hours to make full comment as I have a bus meeting and local transport meeting in my diary taking me to lunchtime tomorrow.

Not filled in the survey (however imperfect!) yet?   Please do so at http://www.passenger.chat/22054
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 03:10:59 pm »

For me, one of the most important aspects is the "turn up and go"-ness of a journey.

If there's only a train every four hours, I probably won't travel. If I have to book a week in advance or pay a punitive walk-up fare, I probably won't travel. If I need to take my bike but that requires booking, I probably won't travel.

As one of the increasing number of people who work freelance from home, my plans tend to change fairly quickly so I try to avoid tying myself down to advance bookings. Either that or I'm just disorganised. Grin The upshot is that my travel these days involves a lot more Chiltern (less punitive fares) and a lot more folding bike than it did a few years ago.

A couple of the poll options touch on this (cost of use, frequency of service) but I thought I'd mention it separately.
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grahame
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2019, 03:58:28 pm »

Reliability of Service   - 46 (12.8%)
Frequency of service   - 42 (11.7%)
Capacity of service   - 41 (11.4%)
Cost of use   - 40 (11.1%)
Comfort of train   - 33 (9.2%)
Journey Duration   - 29 (8.1%)
Cleanliness   - 24 (6.7%)
Safety   - 19 (5.3%)
Facilities on train   - 18 (5%)
Current and easy to find information   - 16 (4.5%)
Professionalism of staff   - 14 (3.9%)
Comfort and facilities at station   - 13 (3.6%)
Final Mile - getting to / from the stations   - 10 (2.8%)
Catering   - 7 (1.9%)
Accessibility   - 5 (1.4%)
Understandability of how to use the train   - 1 (0.3%)
Nationalised or not - who operates the train   - 1 (0.3%)

80% of you (46 out of 58) cited RELIABILITY ... only 50% cited journey DURATION ...  with FREQUENCY, CAPACITY and COST all coming in around 70%.  Figures all rounded, bearing in mind the limited sample size. 55% picked up on comfort of train. 40% picked up on CLEANLINESS - only half the people who chose reliability, but perhaps threre's an opportunity here to put a little more effort to getting things a bit cleaner and as a result getting a lot more passengers; comfort is not such as easy quick win with changing seats and seat arrangements being very expensive, and there being less agreement as to what should be done anyway.

I suspect the answers have an element of "what puts me off the train" or "what should be improved to persuade me to use the train more" in them. Were it truely "Which are the most important factors of a train journey to YOU?" then I would expect so see safetly top of the votes.  However, the railways have got safety pretty much right so its votes are much lower.  Similarly, GWR's staff in virtually every case are professional in their approcah and so didn't

We are currently limited to single question polls ... lots of other software / options around, and we'll be able to do more in due course. I would have been very interested in the different results above based on passenger's typical journeys - how long, how often the train runs, and on how often they travel.

There is ... massive ...interaction between the various element too.   Yes, I know ... poll very much about perception and what would persuade YOU to choose the train more often.  And that tends to be perception.

Headline ...

1: Reliability
2: Reliability
3: Reliability

with

For me, one of the most important aspects is the "turn up and go"-ness of a journey. ...

Yep, frequency coming an honourable second.

Poll pretty much gave results I would have expected ... so why do it?  Because it's helped confirm what we only thought we knew, and it has put a number on some things I would have been very hesitant to guess at!
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Celestial
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2019, 06:51:38 pm »


Catering   - 7 (1.9%)


I wonder how that compares with posts on here as a proportion of overall posts (excluding stuff like the Lighter Side).
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