Wednesday, 6 July 2011

What a way to run a railway

While my attention has been elsewhere, those lovely people at Eurobarometer have been surveying Euroman and woman on railways, the results are in and the time has come to make mock.

Firstly, my fellow South Easterners / Londoners will be a little surprised that a mere 12% of train trips were commutes and a further 12% business travel (I imagine the tube was not counted) with nigh on two thirds leisure trips. (Edit - rather than total journeys, these figures refer to respondents.  Which is rather more credible).  Which does rather make one wonder whether the prospective Lon-Brum-Manchester high speed rail link will do anything much more than whisk shoppers to and fro. Leisure travel peaked in Finland at 76% and bottomed out at 35% in Hungary, then again 47% of our Magyar friends answered other rather than commuting, business or leisure.  Suggestions as to what they were up to on an e-mail please.

Given our status as a nation of moaners, note that 87% of us were satisfied with the ease of buying tickets.  Clearly most Britons have never been at a London terminal at rush hour.  And despite the supposed efficiency of Deutsche Bahn, Germans were the least satisfied on this measure, with 42% dissatisfied.  Then again, maybe they have higher standards.

Some 85% of us were satisfied with platform / schedule information (and presumably have never used Clapham Junction....) while 46% of Poles were unhappy with Lodz Parkway, Warsaw Novy Street etc.  Elsewhere, we were third behind the Finns and Irish for station personal security, with Poland and Bulgaria the worst.  Admittedly there are fewer scammers trying on the 'lend me a fiver to get home, I've lost my wallet / handbag' trick than a few years ago.  60% of us are happy with transport connections, so maybe there is a joined up transport policy after all.  The top figure is 80% in Luxembourg, then again the lazy blighters should not bother with trains but try walking.  Here's a list of stations in Luxembourg. 

Moving swiftly on, 79% of us are happy with station cleanliness and 71% with facilities / services.  Poland and other Eastern European countries are bottom of the heap.  In terms of the best scores for rail, we give 88% for personal security, 87% for ticket buying and 85% for provision of information.  At the other end of the scale, the top moan is 28% griping about parking.  Or perhaps the length of walk from the station car park to the station.  Contrast that with the 71% of Poles unhappy with station cleanliness.  Maybe they should try using the bins....      
And so the trains themselves.  A mere 13% of us are dissatisfied with service frequency.  Surprising, no?  And 6% were unhappy about journey time.  Polish services were the worst, or Poles the biggest whiners.  However, here's the one we've all been waiting for:  asked about satisfaction with punctuality and reliability, 63% of Italians were satisfied and the rest dissatisfied.Whereas 46% of Germans and 52% of Poles did not find that their trains ran on time.  Portuguese trains sound rather comfy in that 95% were very / satisfied.  We managed 84%, and the Poles 48%.  61% of Britons have never tried rush hour in the commuter belt, it would seem, as they are satisfied with capacity for passengers in rail coaches.   

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