ScotRail Annual Report Card Improves Again
An annual evaluation of ScotRail services and facilities at stations and on trains shows marked improvement across key areas, the fourth year in a row that financial penalties paid by the train operator have fallen.
Transport Scotland’s SQUIRE (Service Quality Incentive Regime) measures 36 different areas which affect rail passengers’ travel experience – from toilet cleanliness to ticket vending machines.
ScotRail receives bonuses for above 'benchmark' performance and penalties for areas that fall below.
Penalties for the 12 months from 23 June 2012 until 22 June 2013 totalled £133,126, significantly down from £372,849 (64%) paid last year.
The continuous improvement underpins the most recent National Passenger Survey which revealed that overall passenger satisfaction with ScotRail was up by one per cent to equal its highest ever level of 90%. The rating is also eight percentage points higher than the UK average for train operators.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“The Scottish Government wants to drive up standards further in the overall Scottish rail passenger experience which is why we use SQUIRE - widely regarded as one of the toughest regimes of its kind in the UK – to identify where we can make more improvements across areas we know matter to passengers.
“Evidence from SQUIRE for the last 12 months shows that standards of service and facilities are rising. Penalties are now at their lowest ever level. ScotRail has delivered significant improvements across the board with penalties down 85% over the four years.
“This trend echoes the Spring 2013 National Passenger Survey which found that nine out of ten ScotRail passengers were satisfied with their rail services.
“While we are enjoying a rail renaissance in Scotland with higher levels of patronage and greater levels of investment than ever before, I recognise that events in recent weeks including high temperatures and a spate of criminal activity have impacted on the performance of the rail network infrastructure, and I have asked Network Rail to draw up a recovery plan to deal quickly and effectively with events which hit hard on passenger services.
“I look forward to ScotRail’s continued efforts to build on this year’s SQUIRE results working together with its industry partners to improve quality and value for money as we look to welcome the world to Scotland next year for the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games.”
ScotRail achieved higher scores in several categories; including help points, ticket machines and removal of litter at stations. On-train scores were also higher for toilets, announcements, information screens and seat reservations.
Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of ScotRail added:
Our strategy is to invest in Scotland’s railway every year, delivering record punctuality and transforming the whole experience of rail travel. This is striking a chord with people turning to trains in record numbers.
“We’re connecting communities, growing the economy, and reducing our carbon footprint while rolling out wi-fi and Smartcards and upgrading hundreds of stations.”
Under the franchise agreement, ScotRail is inspected and results issued by Service Quality Inspectors on a daily basis, with results published on a quarterly and annual basis.