It seems that it doesn’t take long for another survey of passenger satisfaction to come along with the latest results of the Transport Focus survey showing a continued high rating on five tramways: Blackpool Tramway, Manchester Metrolink, Midland Metro, Nottingham Express Transit and Stagecoach Supertram. The overall satisfaction rate is at 91%, which although down from the 2016 figure – mainly because Edinburgh Trams chose not to be involved – is still very high, with the Blackpool Tramway leading the way at 97% satisfaction.
When you take a look around at local newspaper websites and social media you would be forgiven for thinking that it was all doom and gloom with tram services and that everyone was constantly delayed and only took the tram because they had no other choice. However, these results show that not to be the case with only Nottingham Express Transit actually seeing a significnt decrease (although Transport Focus’ idea of significant changes seems to be quite generous!) whilst Stagecoach Supertram passengers obviously had a good year as they were more satisfied than in 2016.
The overall satisfaction on each tramway is as follows:
Blackpool Tramway – 97% (2016 – 95%)
Manchester Metrolink – 89% (2016 – 90%)
Midland Metro – 90% (2016 – 92%)
Nottingham Express Transit – 92% (2016 – 97%)
Stagecoach Supertram – 95% (2016 – 91%)
Overall – 91% (93%)
It is probably no coincidence that those tramways with the lowest ratings are those with more complex systems such as Metrolink and NET where any delay tends to exacerbate fairly quickly.
Across all systems 68% thought that their journey provided value for money (amongst fare paying passengers of course!), this was a decrease from 2016 when 69% agreed with this statement.
Of those questioned on the survey 37% spontaneously suggested an improvement to their journey. The common denominator here was capacity and seating (particularly for Metrolink and Midland Metro) whilst the design, comfort and condition of trams (Midland Metro and Nottingham Express Transit) was also mentioned as somewhere which could be improved. Of note the results of this survey comes in the same week as it was announced there were plans to order extra trams for Metrolink which will hopefully alleviate some of these concerns.
The lowest ratings across the board did come over satisfaction with availability of seating or space to stand. You would have expected Manchester to be lowest here but that wasn’t the case as that dubious honour went to Midland Metro (66% down from 70%) with 71% satisfied in Manchester (down from 74%). Nottingham saw 77% satisfied (down from 80%), Supertram was 84% (an increase from 79%) with Blackpool at 85% (down from 87%). Although these numbers are not great it still shows that the vast majority on each system are still satisfied with this but there is of course room for improvement.
Transport Focus – who undertook the survey – urged tram operators to take note of the survey and to try and keep pace with demand as regards capacity. David Sidebottom, Transport Focus director, said: “Overall we know tram passengers are pretty content. We know that what matters to them is the space, comfort and overall environment of the tram. Since the survey started in 2013, tram has become more popular and therefore more crowded, especially in the busy peak travel periods. We challenge the industry to act on this insight and maintain its high passenger satisfaction ratings into the years to come.”
Also of note in the survey is that 29% of tram passengers fall into the 16-25 age bracket. It won’t surprise many but the oldest age profile is found on the Blackpool Tramway – despite the withdrawal of concessionary bus passes for those outside the area – with 39% aged 60 or over.
In total passengers completed surveys. This ranged from 3171 in Manchester down to 501 on Midland Metro. The survey was undertaken between 18th September and 8th December 2017. Both Edinburgh Trams and London Tramlink did not take part in the survey.
* The full survey results (and there are plenty of them, far too many to cover in depth on these pages) are available on the Transport Focus website.