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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Passenger Focus reports commuters start to count delays after 60 seconds

Latest research has found that commuter satisfaction with punctuality starts to drop as soon as a train is only one minute late. Business and leisure passengers are a little more tolerant, being prepared to wait between four and six minutes before their satisfaction is affected.

The study also found that passengers’ experience of delays tends to be more than that recorded by the industry as trains may be late at stations along the route, but make up time towards the end of the journey and arrive at the final station according to the timetable.

The findings have prompted Passenger Focus to call on the rail industry to review how it records ‘on time’ trains and to measure punctuality along the route, not just at the final station.

Passenger Focus’s research shows that commuters judge ‘lateness’ after one minute of delay whereas business and leisure passengers start to notice delay after four to six minutes. Also many passengers commuting home in the evening have got off the train long before it reaches its final destination. However, the industry records trains being on time when they arrive at the final destination within five minutes on short journeys and up to 10 minutes on longer distance services.

The independent passenger watchdog thanked National Express East Anglia, Northern Rail and CrossCountry for their help in exploring passengers’ views of punctuality.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: “Punctual trains equal happier passengers. The good news is that the industry’s current measure shows that punctuality is getting better with more trains running on time. However our research shows that punctuality is still one of passengers’ top three priorities for improvement. Perhaps now the point has come to explore further how the industry and passengers defines ‘on time’ trains?”


  1. Delays and cancellations on most of my journeys I can tolerate and generally accommodate – if the information is available. I have some advantage in both knowing some of the alternatives available and having a bicycle – so as an example last night’s total signaling failure at Hillmorton Junction, I weighed up options of transfer to a Kings Cross-Glasgow service (if this was being permitted at no extra cost) riding to MYB and getting a train to BAN or BMO for a Cross Country or VT service BHM-GLC or even STP-DBY-EDB-GLQ. As I was not too bothered about catching the 17.30 and it seemed that the 1930 EUS-GLC would be departing roughly on time I went off for a nice vegetarian curry in Islington [email protected]’s twitter messages were great including their ‘review’ announcement today – once it was clear what was happening I could be sure that the 1930 service was ‘robust’ nnSWT’s robust timetables – both in normal and during snow conditions, merit praise also they may end up waiting at stations occasionally but you can rely on 2 minute connections, and certainty of overall journey times.nnWe should really move to encourage train operators to sell the complete product of the door to door journey, as SWT is already doing for a small number of their bike hiring passengers. In this way we are delivering (and beating) the journey times aspired to for High Speed Rail at a fraction of the cost, with near immediate implementation on an incremental and individual basis. Typically bike-rail-bike and walk-rail-walk delivery can cut up to 60 minutes from a 120 minute door to desk journey in both directions, with bottom line benefits for both the passenger and the service providers. The public recognises this, well demonstrated by St Pancras blockade (2004-05) the Waterloo & City shut-down (2006-07) and potentially in prospect for the Victoria LUL escalator renewals this year. In overall journey time reductions, the money spent on reducing the time spent waiting to park a car, catch a train, etc, is a far smaller sum with an immediacy of application and effect, than spending u00a3millions, or even u00a3billions on trains and infrastructure to gain a few minutes nnEven for Long distance journeys it works – Darlington Bank Top to Greenford Town Hall – 3 hours 5 min TOTAL time. Glasgow to Woking 5 hours 20 min – this would only get massively reduced if the High Speed proposals are effectively integrated with the existing rail network, as clearly exemplified by the delivery of Evergreen 3 and its future development, along a route not that far removed from HS2 , but far better connected to the communities between London and Birmingham (and with the potential for a further 25mph speed enhancement- just 30mph short of the HS2 top line speed. (NB in 1962 – with jointed track and semaphore signalling a running time of 81 minutes was returned for the 87.5 mile trip from Wolverhampton to Paddington, AVERAGING 100mph for a long stretch South from Bicester, and including slow speeds (35mph) through some stations – think of the potential for this with modern trains, track and signalling (125mph – possibly higher line speed, and 125mph with existing trains on the route).


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