Friday, 27 January 2012

how did you score?

The questions have been asked, the boxes ticked and the scores are in.

The great train travelling public have spoken, so here are a few snippets from the recent National Passenger Survey results.

  • Over 30,000 rail travellers were surveyed, with satisfaction scores for individual routes ranging from an impressive 95% to a poor 72%.
  • National Express East Anglia had the lowest overall satisfaction score of 77%, while the ever popular Grand Central had the highest rating at 95%.
  • Passengers satisfied with the value of their train ticket dropped from 49% to 46%.
  • The highest ratings after Grand Central were achieved by Heathrow Express (93%), Merseyrail (93%), London Overground (92%) and Heathrow Connect (92%).
  • Those lying at the bottom of the list included First Capital Connect (80%), CrossCountry (82%), Southeastern (83%), Southern (83%), Northern Rail (83%) and First Great Western (83%).
  • Only 38% said that the way train companies dealt with delays was either good or satisfactory.
I can't help thinking that if that last statistic can be improved then that would have a significant impact on the overall scores for each and every operator. Brands often underestimate the importance of the way they deal with regular customers' problems.

Time to up your game ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

FirstBus TV ad ruled “misleading”

In what seems a harsh judgement based on one single complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the FirstBus TV advert broadcast last year was misleading when it showed a vehicle displaying “We love low emissions”, with text stating "Our buses produce 4.97 per cent less carbon than conventional diesel buses".

The solitary complainant – who clearly had greater knowledge of low-emission buses than most viewers of the advert – argued that it was misleading, because he understood that the Department for Transport considered a low carbon emission bus to be one that produced 30 per cent less carbon than conventional diesel buses.

FirstBus said they believed the complainant had misinterpreted the advert, because it did not refer to low emission buses specifically but to low emissions. First added that regardless of the interpretation it did not believe that the DfT's definition of low emission buses was widely known among the general public.

And Clearcast, which vetted the advert before it was aired, said it had ensured the "We love low emissions" claim was qualified by on-screen text stating how much less CO2 FirstGroup buses produced compared to conventional buses. They said that because the qualifying text appeared on-screen at the same time as the claim, no one would have been misled by the "low emissions" claim.

Despite these arguments, the ASA upheld the complaint, noting that while the DfT's definition of a low carbon bus was one produced for its own purposes, the ASA considered most viewers would expect the definition of "low emissions" in a transport advert to be in line with that used by the DfT.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

who gets the money from your train ticket?

It's that time of year when train (and bus) companies put up their prices and prepare themselves for the media onslaught that is sure to follow.

So ever wondered where all the money goes from your train ticket?

The graphic below, supplied by Association of Train Operating Companies, shows how your pound is split between all the interested parties.

I think the average traveller will be surprised how much money Network Rail takes from the pot, the costs associated with running a train company and the net profit they actually make.


Assuming these are average figures for the industry, it would be interesting to see how the figures differ for individual operators.

Figures on a postcard please.