Posted 14th June 2017 | 3 Comments

Tram passengers give thumbs up in survey

PASSENGERS on trams outside London are more likely to be happy with their journeys than people using trains or buses.

The findings are published today by watchdog Transport Focus in its latest Tram Passenger Survey, which says trams scored an overall satisfaction rating of 93 per cent. Some individual systems did better still, with Edinburgh Trams reaching 99 per cent.

However, Transport Focus sees some possible sources of dissatisfaction, particularly as the result of disruption caused by building tramway extensions. In the past there have been protests about this in several cities, including Sheffield and more recently Nottingham and Edinburgh, when streets were closed or restricted during a construction phase.

Britain’s largest tram network, Metrolink in Manchester, was slightly below the national average at 90 per cent, but this was a one-point rise on the previous figure.
Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “It’s gratifying to see an increase in overall satisfaction with Metrolink services, as well as across a number of other key areas, particularly when you consider the surveys were completed in the period before we opened a new line through the city centre. 

““Due to the sheer scale of Metrolink operations and activity it’s not really sensible to make a like-for-like comparison with smaller networks, but I’m pleased that we are just 3 per cent off the national average for satisfaction.”  

The survey covered most English tram systems and also the line in Edinburgh, but London was excluded because the capital’s trams are covered by the separate body London TravelWatch.

Transport Focus director David Sidebottom said: “Tram travel is becoming a benchmark for excellence in transport success. Their overall scores are well over the 90 per cent mark. By comparison our latest bus survey is 87 per cent and train survey 81 per cent. Edinburgh Trams, in particular, should be rightly proud of 99 per cent.

“But there are challenges which the tram operators should manage in future to maintain their high satisfaction scores. Expansion of the network in certain places causes some reduction in satisfaction, particularly if the subsequent disruption is not handled well. Once complete, satisfaction normally rises, but operators should not take this for granted.  

“The other challenge arises from these expansions. As we have seen on four networks (Manchester, Nottingham, West Midlands and Sheffield), they become more popular and then more congested.  We have seen that the satisfaction rating on the amount of personal space has fallen since last year.  If they don’t manage the demands of their success, satisfaction with services may fall and they could even lose passengers.”

The latest survey shows that the main factors that make a journey satisfactory are service frequencies and punctuality. The inside of the tram is also important, such as space and seating, but only 5 per cent of respondents rated the provision of information as significant when their satisfaction was being measured.


Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Tony, Bristol

    You should see the mess that has been going on for over two years for our rubbish MetroBust system.

  • Manchester Mike, Manchester

    I much prefer trams to buses, as it seems do most travelers. Smoother ride, private right of way most of the time, no swerving in and out of traffic, quieter...

  • John Gilbert, Cradley

    How the hell can one build a tramway WITHOUT disruption? These people are surely nincompoops, unrealistic nincompoops. "You can't have the gain without the pain!"