UK’s rail passengers most satisfied in Europe says new research

Rail passengers have rated the UK’s railway the best major network in the European Union, according to a league table of 26 EU member states.

The survey of over 26,000 Europeans by the European Commission was conducted to examine rail passengers’ satisfaction with domestic rail services, including trains, railway stations and accessibility for people with reduced mobility.

Overall, almost four out of five people (78%) surveyed in the UK gave either a “high” or “good” rating to services on its railway – ahead of satisfaction levels among passengers in France (74%), Netherlands (67%), Germany (51%) and Italy (39%).

Of the 26 countries covered in the survey, only Finland with a much smaller, less complex rail network, scored a higher overall rating than in the UK.

The UK also topped Europe’s seven major railways in the specific areas of punctuality and reliability, information during journeys and accessibility, three of the key areas the Commission focussed on in its survey.

Of Europe’s major railways:

  • Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability is greatest in the UK (73%), with France (57%), Germany (48%), Italy (42%) and Poland (36%) all scoring lower.
  • The highest rates of satisfaction for provision of information during train journeys, particularly in the event of delays, are found in the UK (70%), with France on 43% and Germany 40%.
  • Satisfaction with overall accessibility of stations for people with reduced mobility is highest in the UK (65%), France (57%) and Belgium (55%).

But the rail industry in the UK remains committed to further improvements as record levels of investment are ploughed into the network to make services better and increase capacity as passenger numbers continue to grow.

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, which speaks on behalf of the rail industry, said:

“Passenger satisfaction in the UK has reached record levels in recent years and this latest study shows that in many areas we’re setting the standard for our European neighbours to follow.

“As record numbers of passengers choose to travel by train we need to improve even further in the coming years. The industry is working hard together to make rail travel more affordable and to offer even better services that meet passengers’ expectations.

“Continued investment in the network and an industry focused on providing passengers with enhanced services will ensure that our railway continues to grow and improve.”

European Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, said: "The report shows the vital role of reliability, accessibility and customer satisfaction in driving passenger growth in the UK and elsewhere in the EU."


Notes to editors

The Eurobarometer survey on "Rail and urban transport passenger satisfaction" is conducted to analyse EU citizens’ satisfaction with rail services through a number of features of rail transport in their country.

This survey was carried out in 26 of the 28 member states of the European Union (Cyprus and Malta have no rail services) between 9-11 September 2013. More than 26,000 respondents aged 15+ from different social and demographic groups were interviewed.

The UK’s overall satisfaction score (78%) was second only to Finland (80%) – however Britain’s rail network is much larger and more complex, with more people using London Victoria station each year (73m) than the total number of passenger journeys in the whole of Finland (67m).

Of the major railways in Europe – those with extensive local and intercity services – overall satisfaction rates were:

Country Overall satisfaction with railway stations and travels Punctuality and reliability Information during journeys Accessibility
United Kingdom 78% 73% 70% 65%
Belgium 74% 54% 50% 55%
France 74% 57% 43% 57%
Netherlands 67% 56% 53% 55%
Germany 51% 48% 44%
Poland 39% 36% 34% 35%
Italy 39% 42% 39% 31%



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