Overview

To measure the effectiveness of operators in delivering a good service to our passengers, Transport Scotland measures two aspects of rail travel.

The quality of the equipment and stations is monitored as well as the reliability and punctuality of train services.

By combining the results of these tests we are able to track continually how well our operators are delivering on their commitment to run the services on Scotland's rail network.

Service quality

The Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE) monitors and measures the quality of customer services provided by the franchise operator, Abellio ScotRail.

To do this, Transport Scotland inspectors regularly check the service quality of ScotRail's train and station facilities.

The SQUIRE regime is one of the toughest performance regimes in the UK with many of the target levels set at 90% or higher.

SQUIRE inspectors audit 353 stations and approximately 200 trains every four weeks. Service areas inspected range from toilets and timetables to train cleanliness, graffiti, staff service and the public address system. There are 35 station and on-train service quality areas inspected under this regime. These are referred to as service schedules.

The inspections cover all stations in Scotland, with the exception of Prestwick International Airport, Lockerbie, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central Station, as ScotRail is not the lead operator at these stations.

Performance results are published quarterly and can be shown by station, by train, or by line of route.

ScotRail is financially incentivised to perform better than the targets set and receives financial penalties for areas which fail to reach these targets.

Punctuality and reliability

Network Rail operates a performance regime that measures the reliability and punctuality of train services. Performance indicators are used to measure the proportion of timetabled services that actually run (reliability) and the proportion of services that run on time (punctuality). The combination of these two indicators is known as the Public Performance Measure (PPM). The PPM is also used to compare the performance of train operating companies across the UK.

Under the franchise agreement, Abellio ScotRail is required to maintain its performance to the benchmarks specified in the franchise. These benchmarks include standards for PPM, cancellations, and capacity provided. Separate benchmarks will be in place for off-peak patronage, passenger satisfaction, and minimised journey times.

Performance

You can review a general overview of performance for the the year, reports for all stations and for all train classes. Performance results for your line of route and for the trains operating on your line of route are also available. For an explanation of the service schedules and examples of checks carried out see description of service areas below. For an explanation of terms used see the Glossary.

Description of Service Quality areas

SQUIRE contains 35 station and on-train service quality areas (called Service Schedules), made up of 17 Station Service Schedules and 18 On-train Service Schedules. These Service Schedules include:

Station Service Schedules

  • Litter and Contamination - Examples of checks made under this service area are that the station is kept free of litter, remains sanitary, is free from excessive standing water and loose objects and that any weather related conditions are managed appropriately. The benchmark is 95%.
  • Ticket Offices - Examples of checks made under this service area are that, during the opening hours for that station: the station is open for the sale of tickets, queues are 5 minutes or less, hearing aid induction loops are operational and that the Passenger Charter and National Conditions of Carriage are available. The benchmark is 99%.
  • Public Announcement and Customer Information Systems - Examples of checks made under this service area are that any customer information displays installed at the station are fully functional and showing accurate information. Each station is checked to ensure that it has the facility for announcements to be made at that station and that any announcements made during the audit are audible and accurate. The benchmark is 95%.
  • Station Toilets - Examples of checks under this service area are that the station toilets are open, sanitary and are fully functional including all lights, locks and seats. Checks are also made to ensure that the facilities exist for washing and drying hands and that facilities are stocked with the required consumables (toilet paper, soap). The benchmark is 97%.
  • Station Shelters and Waiting Areas - Examples of checks under this service area are that shelters and waiting areas are fit for purpose, providing reasonable protection from the weather and with any doors functioning correctly. Checks are also made to ensure that these facilities are clean, hygienic and without damage to the shelter structure including panels and glazing. The benchmark is 90%.

Train Service Schedules

  • Train Toilets - Examples of checks under this service area are that station toilets are open, sanitary, fully functional including all lights, locks and seats and that toilet door indicators operate correctly. Checks are also made to ensure that facilities exist for washing and drying hands and that facilities are stocked with the required consumables (toilet paper, soap). The benchmark is 90%.
  • Train Seats, Racks and other Passenger Facilities - Examples of checks under this service area are that the seats are undamaged, clean, fit for purpose and, where fitted, seat recline works. Checks are also made to ensure that luggage racks are undamaged a space for wheelchairs is provided. The benchmark is 90%.
  • Train Cleanliness - Examples of checks under this service area are that the train is kept free from litter, contamination and excessive dirt and that cleanliness of the external windows is such that passengers can see station signage. The benchmark is 96%.
  • Train Staff and Customer Care - Examples of checks under this service area are that a member of train staff is present, appropriately uniformed including wearing a name badge and is observed performing the customer care duties required of their role including, if the train is running 5 minutes late, then an announcement is made. The benchmark is 95%.

A list of all the SQUIRE Service Schedules is available on the Public Register.

Glossary of terms

Benchmark - The target level of performance, set individually for each Service Schedule.

  • Performance - The percentage of Service Schedule passes over the total number inspected.
  • Quarter - Quarters 1, 2 and 3 comprise Rail Periods 1-3, 4-6 and 7-9 respectively, Quarter 4 comprises Rail Periods 10-13.
  • Rail Period - The railway calendar is split into 13 Rail Periods. Rail Period 1 starts on the 1st of April each year and ends on the last Saturday of April. Period 2 to 12 inclusive are of 4 weeks duration, with period 13 finishing on the 31st March.
  • Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE) - The Service Quality Incentive Regime is a customer focused regime which measures First ScotRail performance in relation to quality of services and facilities at stations and on trains.
  • Service Quality Inspector - A Transport Scotland employee responsible for carrying out quality inspections at stations and on trains.
  • Service Schedule - Area of service quality inspected under the Service Quality Incentive Regime.