Rail passengers in the south-east are the least satisfied

— Which? (@WhichUK) February 18, 2016

FARE HIKE: 2.5% increase in rail ticket prices

In this new year, rail passengers will pay 2.5 per cent more on tickets.
This includes regulated fares like season tickets, with average rise in fares of about 2.2 per cent.

fare hike During his visit today at the Birmingham New Street station, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

“The work at Birmingham New Street is truly impressive and will make a real difference to passengers when it completes later this year. As we invest in projects like this, it is important that we recognise passengers’ concerns about the cost of rail fares. This is why we have frozen them for the second year in a row.”

His visit today was followed by a major signalling problems at the New Street Station leading to disruption in services earlier this morning. Delays were seen till 3pm and some replacement services were provided earlier in the day.

However, passengers reported delays and other problems till late this afternoon.

Unions and passenger groups have protested the hikes, comparing them to a corresponding lack of rise in wages.

Campaign for Better Transport have this interactive Fare v Wage calculator on their website :

fares v wages

While this 2.2 per cent is the lowest increase in the last 5 years, they have said passengers will struggle to get to work without substantial increase in salaries.

HS2: the Great Debate among approvers and critics

This year’s West Midlands Great Debate saw an almost total consensus among the audience over the realisation of the HS2 railway.

Majority of the people who took part in the event raised their hands when asked by debate chairman Evan Davis if they were in favour of the project.

But through the web and social media, against-HS2 campaign groups heavily criticised the event.

Panellists in favour of the realisation of the HS2 were Glenn Howells Architects’ Davinder Bansall, Birmingham City Council Leader Sir Albert Bore and music producer Pete Waterman.

While the opposition representatives were Campaign to Protect Rural England Chief Executive Shaun Spiers,  economist and entrepreneur Jerry Marshall, and First Class Partnership’s Chris Stokes.

The event was organised by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and other professional institutes working in the built environment sector.

The project, which is planned to initially connect London Euston and Birmingham, has recently gone through the supervision of the Supreme Court due to alleged environmental impact assessment inaccuracies.

Watch the video of the debate or read the round-up below:

Research: West Midlands among best in country for rail services

This post was originally published on the Transport Network. Shared here and on Eastside, are some more details on the data revealed from the research on regional rail performance

According to it, London, West Midlands and the North West are the best performing rail regions in terms of overall services, while the East of England and Wales remain low on accessibility.

Overall benchmarking scores put West Midlands and the North West at second place with 50%. London stood at first place here, with 59%.

In terms of growth and usage, London was the highest at 73%, followed by the South East at 56% and the West Midlands at 51%. Factors analysed were trips per head, 10-year growth rate and rail mode share.

The research – Benchmarking Rail Services Across Great Britain - was carried out by consultants, Credo, in association with Campaign for Better Transport.

DfT recommends industry and local government learn from the report.

Peter Wilkinson, director of franchising, Department for Transport said:

“There are challenges for all regions in improving performance. The industry and local government must consider how we best work together to tackle the issues this report raises.”

However, on the service quality front, both London and the West Midlands were quite low with 36% and 41% respectively, compared to the highest scores in Scotland at 55%.

Accessibility scores remain high for London at 68%, followed by the West Midlands at 57%, despite having low value for money scores. East of England emerged the lowest in this category at 17%.

Scottish rail services – which operate under a devolved management for the Scotrail franchise – showed high passenger satisfaction, while Welsh rail services had relatively low levels of usage, accessibility and satisfaction, including the second lowest level for accessibility at 22%.

The research recommends focus on passenger satisfaction around key themes of station cleanliness, security, investments on fleet modernisation and locally identified fare subsidies.

If you have more ideas or questions/comments on improving the presentation of this data, please get in touch @brumtransport

Video: Rail unions say 4-9% fare hike unacceptable

With rail fares hikes between 4.3 to 9.1 per cent, rail unions have said Birmingham might see a rise in the number of cars on the streets again.

Earlier, on 13 August, Brum Transport spoke to rail unions protesting the fare hike at the New Street and Birmingham International stations.

Ken Usher, regional organiser, Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union explained the impact the hikes are likely to have on commuters. He said:

“Between 2008 and now, we have seen an almost 48 per cent hike in rail fare. This is bound to lead more people to start using cars again.”

RMT has urged the government to roll back the decision to allow for nearly 4-9% fare hike by rail companies.

More from him in the video below:

Live updates of the protests are also available on an earlier post on Brum Transport.

The Guardian datablog: National trends in rail fare hike

Earlier this week, The Guardian published some national data on the rail fare hike. It includes fare hikes from 2004 onwards and is compared against the inflation rates.

The data is sourced from the Office of the Rail Regulator and is visualised with interactive charts on datawrapper.

On 13 August, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced train fare hikes after the Retail Price Index inflation figures were released.

Regulated fares are set to go up by 4.1 per cent from January 2014 onwards and some season tickets can go up by 9.0 per cent.

The chart below has data from 2004 onwards and shows percentage changes in rail fares compared to changes in inflation:

Guardian interactive data on train fare increase

Another chart, on passenger feedbacks, is also very interesting. It uses:

“official statistics that show a surprising number of praise comments compared to complaints from passengers. “

This is in sharp contrast to the reactions and protests by trade unions and campaign groups that seem to convey that passengers are enraged with the recent fare hikes.

This data on the Guardian datablog also gives figures from 2007-08 onwards, showing a consistency in the passenger feedback trends.

Rails unions protest at over 50 train stations nationwide

Rail unions are gathering today at over 50 stations, including the Birmingham New Street station and the Birmingham International station to protest fare hikes announced this morning.

Rail travellers face an increase in rail fare ranging from 4.3 – 9.1 per cent. The revised fares will be implemented from January 2014.

Brum Transport reports live from the protests organised by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in Birmingham:


Soon to follow: Interview with Ken Usher, regional organiser, Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) workers union.