Understanding customer opinion
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The first wave of the new research, which will take place twice a year, was undertaken this summer and a second wave will be completed before the end of the year. Research took place across all our routes, with questionnaires distributed on board. The methodology is based on the National Passenger Survey (which takes places in Spring and Autumn) to give us a year-round picture of customer satisfaction, and is statistically representative of the wide range of journeys made on our services.
The results from the first survey revealed an overall consistency with recent NPS scores for station and on board factors. As our franchise does not operate any stations or have its own in-house train maintenance facilities, this feedback is vital to enable the views of our customers to be reflected in the delivery of these services by our industry partners and maintenance providers.
In addition to the aspects of 'today's journey' the new CER probes more deeply into our customers' attitudes to external factors such as petrol price fluctuations, and their use of technology. The on-going nature of this research means insight can be used to help support product and service evolution, and the six-monthly frequency helps us gauge effectiveness or keep track of changing attitudes. This approach is already helping us monitor how customers want to purchase their tickets in the future.
We also use this research to ensure we maintain a strong customer service ethos, by asking customers to provide feedback on the degree and type of interaction they are seeking from staff on board, and the extent to which different styles of service may meet their needs in future.