14 June 2017

Customer satisfaction with Metrolink rises

Metrolink customers are increasingly satisfied with their service, according to a new national survey.
Last year more than 37 million passenger journeys were made on the 93-stop Metrolink network – the largest light rail system in the UK.
The latest tram survey, carried out by Transport Focus between September and December last year, shows another year-on-year increase with 90% of passengers very or fairly satisfied with their overall journey. This is up from 89% in 2015 and 85% in 2014.

The results see Metrolink move closer to the 93% average for overall satisfaction across other, smaller tram networks (in Blackpool, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield and Midlands).

The fact this has been achieved during a period of major transformational work to build a new line through the city centre – which opened to customers in February 2017, offering more frequent and reliable services – makes this even more of an achievement.

At the same time, satisfaction with punctuality has increased significantly since last year (up from 82% to 86%), as has satisfaction with journey time (up from 83% to 87%), the length of time waiting for a tram (up from 79% to 85%) and the frequency of services (up from 75% to 80%).

The survey registered customer satisfaction with a whole range of factors from access, information, personal comfort and the safety of the driving, to value for money, the range of tickets available and connections with other modes of transport.

Just 10% of those surveyed registered concern about fellow passengers’ behaviour (up from 9% in 2015), while 85% were satisfied with their personal safety at the stop (up from 84% in 2015).

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “It’s gratifying to see an increase in overall satisfaction with Metrolink services, as well as across a number of other key areas, particularly when you consider the surveys were completed in the period before we opened a new line through the city centre.

“Metrolink’s recent expansion to become the largest light rail network in the UK was unparalleled in pace and size and I’m grateful to customers for bearing with us as we’ve delivered a bigger, better tram network.

“Due to the sheer scale of Metrolink operations and activity it’s not really sensible to make a like-for-like comparison with smaller light rail networks, but I’m pleased that we are just 3% off the national average for satisfaction.” 
From this summer, Metrolink customers will benefit from expansion of the get me there smartcard – for the first time, customers will be able to pay for all their tram and bus travel using a single smartcard and have the option to buy Metrolink tickets online.
Looking further ahead, TfGM is continuing to develop plans to launch the next generation of smart ticketing, to give customers even greater convenience and flexibility.
Danny Vaughan, TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, added: “These results are extremely valuable in helping us make customer-focused improvements that improve the journey experience even more.
“We know reliability and punctuality is a key issue for customers and we’ve worked hard, alongside the Metrolink operator, RATP Dev, to improve this. I’m very pleased to see this reflected in our customers’ rising satisfaction with punctuality, journey times and waiting times.
“Since the survey we’ve introduced even more frequent services through the city centre, making it easier to get around and connecting more people with more places on the 93-stop network.
“The new Metrolink operator, Keolis-Amey, will be on board shortly with plans to improve the customer experience further and we’ll be working closely with them to offer the best possible service.”
The key factor that makes customers ‘very’ rather than ‘fairly’ satisfied with journeys on Metrolink is the environment and comfort on board.
While satisfaction with seat comfort has grown, there have been small decreases in satisfaction with the availability of seating and space to stand, the amount of personal space, and temperature inside the tram.
Danny added: “As Metrolink grows in popularity we’re conscious that the trams are getting even busier and this is something that we’ve worked to address by opening the new line through the city centre, and through operational changes.
“As we welcome more and more customers on board we continue to look at ways to improve the customer experience and increase capacity, including building a business case for more vehicles.”
Chris Coleman, Managing Director at Metrolink operator RATP Dev, commented: “I am delighted to have seen a year-on-year improvement in customer satisfaction over the last four years of the Metrolink contract with RATP Dev. This shows our investment in key areas is having a positive impact on the customer.
“Increasing satisfaction has been at a time of unprecedented change and growth for Metrolink and is recognition of the hard work and dedication of the Metrolink team, who pride themselves on providing the quality of service that customers expect – and continually raising the bar despite the significant amount of change that has taken place.
“When RATP Dev took over in 2011, we were excited to contribute our expertise in urban transit to the Metrolink expansion programme. It is very satisfying to be leaving the network in great shape for the future.”
For more information on Metrolink services visit www.metrolink.co.uk, call Metrolink Customer Services on 0161 205 2000 or follow @MCRMetrolink for live travel updates.

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