Borders Railway Year 2 - Evaluation - Survey of users and non-users - February 2018
In Year 2, overall travel on the line has increased by
9.5%. As in Year 1, the majority of patronage on the line is towards Edinburgh
with Tweedbank accounting for the biggest component of demand and Edinburgh
Waverley the most frequent destination.
Compared to Year 1, has been an increase in inbound and
outbound travel at all the Midlothian stations while the number of people
travelling to Galashiels and Tweedbank has fallen with the latter likely a
reflection of the novelty impact of the line.
Based on the frequency with which respondents indicated they made
their current trip, it is estimated that approximately 35,900 (35%) of the
estimated annual single trips recorded via the sample were ‘new trips’.
In terms of tourists, 71% said that the re-opening of the line
had been a factor in choosing to make their trip and 25% stated that they would
not have made the trip had the line not been in place.
Commuting is the most common journey purpose. In comparison to
the Year 1 Survey, there is a higher proportion of commuting and leisure trips
and a smaller proportion of educational trips. In total, 60% of respondents to
the User Survey reported that the purpose of their trip was either a tourist
day trip or an overnight stay. Of these, 25% were travelling to Midlothian and
/ or the Scottish Borders.
The re-opening of the Borders Railway has resulted in significant
modal shift from the car to public transport with 61% of respondents stating
that they previously made their journey by another mode. Of these, 64% reported
that they previously drove all their way to their destination resulting in
approximately 35,800 saved single car trips.
There has also been a shift from bus to rail with 25% of those
who formerly travelled by another method reporting that they took the bus,
equating to a reduction in approximately 14,100 annual single trips.
While the re-opening of the railway has resulted in improvements
in access between stations, there have been changes in the bus network which are
likely to have led to declines in accessibility at some locations. Most
notable amongst these declines is the reduction in frequency of the X95 Service
which is likely to have led to a reduction in access for areas on the A7 served
by this bus which are not directly served by the Borders Railway.
The data indicates that the Borders Railway has influenced
people’s residential and workplace choices with nearly 17% stating that they
had moved house since the re-opening of the line of which 58% stated that the
re-opening of the Borders Railway was a factor in their decision. The
proportion who stated that the line had been a factor in their decision to move
was slightly higher in Year 2 compared to Year 1 although the difference is
marginal. Of those who had moved house, 29% stated that they would not have
moved to their current address in the absence of the railway, a similar figure
to that seen in Year 1.
There is evidence that the Borders Railway has had an impact on
people’s choice of workplace with 52%% of those who had moved employment
stating that the re-opening of the line had been a factor in their decision.
Generally, there was a high level of satisfaction with 95% of
respondents rating the quality of service as Very Good or Good.
Users were least satisfied with Other aspects of service such as the
on-board facilities (toilets, Wi-Fi) as well as Storage facilities for
bicycles / buggies on the train’.
The greater convenience offered by the car was the most popular
reason amongst one-off, non- and irregular users for not using the service /
not using the service more frequently. In Midlothian, the bus was highlighted
as a greater draw than in the Scottish Borders with 51% finding the bus cheaper
than the train and 40% finding it more convenient.
Overall, 40% of one-off, non- and irregular users said that
improvements to the Borders Railway would encourage them to use the railway /
use it more frequently, with ‘lower train fares’ being the most popular