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Cardiff Rail Commuters Most Satisfied

Campaign for Better Transport LogoAccording to the Happiest Commuter Index, which has been published by Campaign for Better Transport this week, commuters in Cardiff are the happiest of them all. The charity reviewed how train services in 11 cities perform based on punctuality, overcrowding and affordability. Unlike existing satisfaction research, this index shows how the different categories affect the overall happiness of commuters in specific cities.

Campaign for Better Transport found that commuters going to Cardiff should be the happiest due to less overcrowding and more affordable fares. The second happiest commuters are those to Newcastle, while those to Nottingham came in third. Taking fourth place was Birmingham commuters, and those to Leeds are expected to be the fifth happiest.

However, commuters to Manchester are likely to be the most miserable due to higher fares – compared to wages. London commuters are the second most likely to be miserable, while Bristol commuters are the third most miserable. The fourth worst city on the list is Sheffield, and the fifth is Leicester. Liverpool sits in the middle at number six out of the 11 surveyed cities.

Campaign for Better Transport campaigns director Richard Hebditch says that surveys show affordability is the most important part of rail travel for commuters – even more than overcrowding and punctuality. Their list shows just how much this affects the rail travel experience. While passengers to Cardiff and Newcastle are likely to be the happiest, this may change if season ticket prices begin to rise to levels seen in other cities – which is something the government is considering doing. With rail fares sky high already and the government due to raise fares by 3% above inflation in January, the chances of commuters remaining happy is slim.

Hebditch added that Cardiff isn’t too bad, though there is room for improvement in terms of electrification, rolling stock and similar things in south Wales. However, the situation is worse in other parts of the country. Price is one thing that’s really considered by passengers, and that’s what’s heading in the wrong direction. He thinks one of the key things is if people get a seat or not. If a person buys a season ticket, they will at least get a seat for that price. That’s the one thing people complain about, he added.

A Railfuture Wales spokesman says Arriva Trains Wales is doing well with some of the nation’s oldest rolling stock. He thinks timetables, train cleanliness, staff availability and punctuality are what make commuters happy. The service can only improve with electrification on the Valley’s lines and new rolling stock being introduced. Arriva Trains Wales commercial director Mike Bagshaw added that it’s good to see commuters going to Cardiff are some of the most content in the UK.

However, First Great Western spokesman Dan Panes says they were surprised by the survey’s results. Their fares offer value for money, and around nine of ten of their commuter services arrived on time in Bristol last month. The charity’s figures show that the cost of travelling by train is about one-third of travelling by car, at around 17p per mile. Additionally, the crowding figures used were from 2010 and don’t include their investment in more carriages in the area over the last year. They have delivered over 900 more peak seats, and another 900 seats are on the way in the coming months, he added.

 

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