Do you trust the rail industry? We found out...

31 May 2019

The Williams Rail Review consultation period closes today - 31st May. We've comissioned some official polling to look at the state of public attitudes towards privatised rail in the UK, and whether public ownership could improve things like trust and value for money. This polling was published in eight different news outlets, including the Daily Mirror, and has formed part of our official submission to the Rail Review. Here's a section of our submission that includes the polling, with some graphs from Survation. The full submission can be found at the bottom of the page, as a pdf. 

We’ve polled the public on their attitudes towards rail privatisation, and in doing so we paid attention to your evidence from Britain Thinks. Their focus group research threw up some really interesting observations about what passengers understand and expect from their railway - but a few questions were left unasked. We’ve tried to fill the gaps.

Your evidence paper ‘Trust in the rail sector’ explains that trust is low because passengers don’t feel that they are ‘at the heart of the railway system’.

We asked the public if their trust in the railway would be impacted by a change of ownership. Overwhelmingly, they said that they would trust a publicly owned railway more.

Part of putting the passenger at the heart of the railway, according to your paper, is ensuring that they receive value for money.

We asked the public if they felt that the value for money they receive would be different under a publicly owned railway. The majority of them again said that public ownership would improve the value for money of their train fares.

We also asked whether passengers felt that private train operating companies had their best interests at heart. 44% felt that they did not, compared to just 22% who felt that they did.

Fragmentation of the railway, which is made worse by forcing competition on certain routes, is the direct cause of this lack of trust in the rail industry.


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Sylvia Willmot replied on

Surely all privatisation brings with it shareholders who want their dividends paid and ride on the back of us the taxpayer.

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