Train quality is main concern for East Midlands Trains passengers
The age and quality of rolling stock on East Midlands Trains (EMT) is passengers’ single biggest area of concern, according to research conducted by Transport Focus as part of the consultation into the next East Midlands franchise.
TF found that while impressions of EMT were positive overall, passengers described the interior design across its fleet as “basic”, and contrasted the rolling stock with that of Virgin Trains and London Midland, which operate over parts of the EMT network.
The cleanliness of train interiors was also criticised, with satisfaction rates of 74% on local routes and 86% on long-distance services. Satisfaction for toilet facilities was 50% on local routes and 55% on London trains.
Increasingly, passengers regard free wireless internet and plug sockets as essentials - internet access is regarded as the thirdhighest priority for improvement, behind value for money and getting a seat.
Value for money satisfaction is at 66% for local journeys, 58% for Liverpool-Norwich, and 42% for London services. The latter figure compares with a national average from the National Rail Passenger Survey of 58% for long-distance operators.
TF’s research identified four areas for improvement in the next East Midlands franchise: capacity and service frequency; better rolling stock and stations; improved on-board experience; and better value for money.
“East Midlands Trains passengers have a dependable service that delivers the basics well,” said TF Chief Executive Anthony Smith.
“Passengers have seen what other train companies provide, which has raised their expectations. They want more modern trains, with free WiFi and power sockets as standard, and improvements to catering and toilet facilities on the train. The competition for the next franchise must seize the opportunity to provide an outstanding journey for rail passengers in the East Midlands.”