Survey: Cardiff rail users happiest while Manchester commuters miserable

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aformeruser

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Cardiff has the happiest rail commuters while Manchester has the most miserable, according to an index published by Campaign for Better Transport this week.

The transport charity looked at how train services in 11 cities around the UK performed on affordability, overcrowding and punctuality.

Unlike existing passenger satisfaction surveys, which are based on individual train companies, the Happiest Commuter Index is designed to show how the different attributes that make up satisfaction with train services affect overall happiness for commuters in specific cities.

The charity found that commuters travelling into Cardiff should be the happiest thanks to more affordable fares and less overcrowding, while Manchester’s commuters are likely to be miserable due to higher fares relative to wages. London commuters are also likely to be unhappy with high fares and the worst overcrowding.

Richard Hebditch, Campaign for Better Transport’s campaigns director, said: “Surveys show that affordability is the most important issue for passengers, even more than punctuality or overcrowding, and our list shows just how much it affects their experience of rail travel.

“Whilst passengers in Cardiff and Newcastle are likely to be happy with their commute, they may not be so happy if the cost of their season ticket starts to rise to levels seen elsewhere in the country, something we know the Government is seriously considering.

“With rail fares already sky high across the country, and the Government set to raise fares by three per cent above inflation next January, the chances of finding happiness on the daily commute are going to be slim.”

The Government launched a Fares and Ticketing Review in March. As part of the review, which ends on June 28, the Government is looking at the possibility of reducing the variation in fares between London and other regions. Reducing London commuter fares has been ruled out, which means fares elsewhere in the country could go up to reduce this regional disparity. In addition, regulated fares are set to increase by RPI+3 per cent in January across the whole of the UK, with a further rise in 2014.

http://www.rail.co/2012/06/25/commuters-content-in-cardiff-but-miserable-in-manchester/
 
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craigwilson

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I always found Manchester's fares pretty good - especially when you have things like the Train Card/County Card to cut the price of longer commutes.

I dare say the commuters to Manchester on the Buxton line might have some complaints about overcrowding, as might the commuters on the Mid-Cheshire line. I remember well the annoyance of standing on a crowded Pacer from Navigation Rd to Stockport to connect to my train to Chapel-en-le-Frith every morning - which was luxury in comparison - a decent train and a pick of seats!
 

aformeruser

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I always found Manchester's fares pretty good - especially when you have things like the Train Card/County Card to cut the price of longer commutes.

The survey seemed to have concentrated on commutes of 10-19 miles so journeys like Salford Crescent to Manchester are excluded but journeys like Warrington to Manchester are included.

The average season ticket cost for commutes of 10-19 miles for Manchester was worked out as £1,923.33 per year. That's a lot of money if you're on a salary of under £15,000 a year. For Cardiff the same average came to £1,052.67.

What might surprise the people in FGW land is commutes for Manchester and Sheffield work out more expensive than those around Bristol.
 

Anvil1984

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The survey seemed to have concentrated on commutes of 10-19 miles so journeys like Salford Crescent to Manchester are excluded but journeys like Warrington to Manchester are included.

The average season ticket cost for commutes of 10-19 miles for Manchester was worked out as £1,923.33 per year. That's a lot of money if you're on a salary of under £15,000 a year. For Cardiff the same average came to £1,052.67.

What might surprise the people in FGW land is commutes for Manchester and Sheffield work out more expensive than those around Bristol.





Yep pre 0930 fares into Manchester are not cheap. A SDR Rochdale - Manchester CTLZ is £7.20 but the CDR after 0930 is nearly half that IIRC. Thats for a 15 minute journey.
 

Gareth Marston

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The survey seemed to have concentrated on commutes of 10-19 miles so journeys like Salford Crescent to Manchester are excluded but journeys like Warrington to Manchester are included.

The average season ticket cost for commutes of 10-19 miles for Manchester was worked out as £1,923.33 per year. That's a lot of money if you're on a salary of under £15,000 a year. For Cardiff the same average came to £1,052.67.

What might surprise the people in FGW land is commutes for Manchester and Sheffield work out more expensive than those around Bristol.

Its all relative - suffice to say were talking degrees of unhappy here it should say commuters in parts of S Wales should be relatively more happy than elsewhere. Did it take into account rolling stock?
 

WelshBluebird

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I am guessing they did not ask about rolling stock then!

But yes, defiantly it is a lot cheaper around Cardiff.
I am looking at commuting between Bath and Keynsham starting in a couple of months. Around 7 miles, and a 7 minute journey. £784 for the year. Very expensive considering a commute from where I live to Cardiff (a journey of around 20 miles, but 55 minutes) is around £1000.
 

aformeruser

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Ivo

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No data is relation to Scotland? How would Glasgow and Edinburgh perform?

In other studies, such as this one, Cardiff struggles at the wrong end of the table in terms of happiness (which is subjective anyway, so don't read too much into this), with Bristol another struggler. And yet, here, they are at opposite ends. In my experience, Bristol is probably better; it's just that Cardiff has such a good frequency out to the Valleys. So at least Cardiff appreciate that, whereas Bristol - which experiences more crowding on commuter flows away from the city - obviously don't. Only CrossCountry passenegrs really have to put up with overcrowding for commuting into Bristol, but that is the case pretty much everywhere they serve - and they serve all but two of the cities on that list!
 

exile

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The season ticket prices for Manchester look strange - look at these actual figures from www.nationalrail.co.uk
Bolton £908
Wigan £1,028
Warrington £1,524
 

exile

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Doncaster to Sheffield is £908. Edale to Sheffield £1,656.

I'd really like to see the season ticket prices they based those averages on!
 

tbtc

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It's a difficult survey to know what to make of. For a start, it's very personal - the Mancunian commuters won't have tried a Valley Lines 143 to know whether their commute is better/worse than others, you could easily find examples of people who got a good deal who still thought they were hard done by.
 

aformeruser

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The season ticket prices for Manchester look strange - look at these actual figures from www.nationalrail.co.uk
Bolton £908
Wigan £1,028
Warrington £1,524

Wigan isn't a typical example, there isn't another town located that far from Manchester that benefits from PTE subsided fares. If you replace Wigan with Macclesfield that is a similar distance from Manchester you get £1,680 for an annual season ticket.

You've also taken annual season ticket season ticket prices, how many people pay for the whole year in advance? I'd suggest that if the survey was carried out properly it would be the actual cost people pay with most people not paying for a whole year's travel in advance. 48 weekly season tickets for Macclesfield-Manchester would come to over £2,000 which is then over the average figure given in the report, while all your examples are under it.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Should have asked commuters going out of Cardiff on the two coach D MUs going to Manchester,not so happy then

Maybe they were the 7% of Cardiff commuters who weren't happy with overcrowding.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
For a start, it's very personal - the Mancunian commuters won't have tried a Valley Lines 143 to know whether their commute is better/worse than others, you could easily find examples of people who got a good deal who still thought they were hard done by.

Couldn't the point of "you could easily find examples of people who got a good deal who still thought they were hard done by" apply both ways?

For instance, the SWT Desiro commuters have made a fuss in the media about their trains with 3+2 seating when their trains are actually better than Pacers and 150s with 3+2 seating.

But another from the reverse viewpoint, when you did last hear someone moaning about the 156s not having air conditioning? I never have but if operators publicise air conditioning on their trains more then when it gets slightly warm on a 156 people will start moaning about no air conditioning.
 

exile

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Wigan isn't a typical example, there isn't another town located that far from Manchester that benefits from PTE subsided fares. If you replace Wigan with Macclesfield that is a similar distance from Manchester you get £1,680 for an annual season ticket.

You've also taken annual season ticket season ticket prices, how many people pay for the whole year in advance? I'd suggest that if the survey was carried out properly it would be the actual cost people pay with most people not paying for a whole year's travel in advance. 48 weekly season tickets for Macclesfield-Manchester would come to over £2,000 which is then over the average figure given in the report, while all your examples are under it.
Well, I thought I'd better look at actual distances - here are some between 17 and 19 miles
Sankey - £1,712
Lostock - £1,028
Marsden - £1,648
Walsden - £1,380
Chelford (just under 17) - £2,048


I would expect that the cost would show the annual season ticket for a journey of about 14.5 miles.

Watford Junction to London (17 miles) - annual season ticket cost £2,680. Cost of 48 weeklies is £3,216!!!! And yet the average given for London is £2,527.
 

craigwilson

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aformeruser

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Well, I thought I'd better look at actual distances - here are some between 17 and 19 miles
Sankey - £1,712
Lostock - £1,028
Marsden - £1,648
Walsden - £1,380
Chelford (just under 17) - £2,048

Again you've just quoted a load of annual season tickets prices for Manchester and ignored passengers travelling on weekly and monthly tickets.


Watford Junction to London (17 miles) - annual season ticket cost £2,680. Cost of 48 weeklies is £3,216!!!! And yet the average given for London is £2,527.

Could that not simply suggest that more London commuters have annual season tickets? The average weekly wage is around 40% higher for London than for Manchester, so perhaps that also tells us that most Manchester commuters can't afford to buy an annual season ticket at the start of the year.
 

tbtc

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Wigan isn't a typical example, there isn't another town located that far from Manchester that benefits from PTE subsided fares. If you replace Wigan with Macclesfield that is a similar distance from Manchester you get £1,680 for an annual season ticket.

You've also taken annual season ticket season ticket prices, how many people pay for the whole year in advance? I'd suggest that if the survey was carried out properly it would be the actual cost people pay with most people not paying for a whole year's travel in advance. 48 weekly season tickets for Macclesfield-Manchester would come to over £2,000 which is then over the average figure given in the report, while all your examples are under it

...but then if you are going to take 48 weekly tickets then you need to do the same for the Cardiff (etc) examples too - the fact that buying weekly tickets costs more over a year isn't unique to Manchester commuters.

Couldn't the point of "you could easily find examples of people who got a good deal who still thought they were hard done by" apply both ways?

For instance, the SWT Desiro commuters have made a fuss in the media about their trains with 3+2 seating when their trains are actually better than Pacers and 150s with 3+2 seating.

But another from the reverse viewpoint, when you did last hear someone moaning about the 156s not having air conditioning? I never have but if operators publicise air conditioning on their trains more then when it gets slightly warm on a 156 people will start moaning about no air conditioning.

This is the problem - we don't know what people's expectations are, we aren't comparing like with like. Plus there are places on the list with hardly any commuter stations (Nottingham and Leicester have hardly any "local" services, Sheffield's handful of urban stations get a low service - hourly at Darnall/ Woodhouse and bi-hourly at Dore), so there's not the same number of local commuters to interview.

Maybe the Mancunian commuters were ones on Pacers, maybe they were ones using 180s who still had a low expectation of the stock, dunno.
 

Gareth Marston

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Should have asked commuters going out of Cardiff on the two coach D MUs going to Manchester,not so happy then

I stood all the way to Shrewsbury from Cardiff last Friday on the 1405 to Piccadilly which was a 2 car 175 hate to think what the return working was like it being the 1730 off Piccadily!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Is it a devolution thing?

No its (lowish fares/ relative high frequency in parts) a hangover from BR days and strong support from local authority's 20 odd years ago. The PSR was just a copy of what BR did so if BR were doing relativity well it got written it to the franchise agreements.
 
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John55

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I don't think there is any merit in this survey at all. I have tried to check a single item in the table which is the cost of a railway season ticket to Liverpool which is quoted as £1547 average for stations between 10 and 19 miles from Liverpool. I cannot find any season tickets which cost this much for any station within 19 miles of Liverpool.

Most Liverpool commuters will used a Trio ticket which costs £1152 for an annual all zones ticket (or a cheaper more limited ticket).

If they cannot work that out (5 minutes on the Merseytravel website) it just shows what a pile of rubbish the whole thing is.
 

Michael.Y

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I stood all the way to Shrewsbury from Cardiff last Friday on the 1405 to Piccadilly which was a 2 car 175 hate to think what the return working was like it being the 1730 off Piccadily!

My colleague "worked" this service with his trolley and gave up at Salop. He managed to work it back down OK as far as I know. V. unusual for that to be a 2-car. Must have been a lot of people heading for Manchester Airport via Wilmslow methinks.
 

aformeruser

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My colleague "worked" this service with his trolley and gave up at Salop.

Salop is an old name for Shropshire not a specific town.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
...but then if you are going to take 48 weekly tickets then you need to do the same for the Cardiff (etc) examples too - the fact that buying weekly tickets costs more over a year isn't unique to Manchester commuters.

No-one's quoted any examples for Cardiff expect the average figure given in the report.

Like it said it's the figure the passenger pays that's important for the scope of this survey, if 99.9% of commuters in Manchester can't afford to buy an annual season ticket in advance but it's only 50% in London then that could explain, which seems to be what some people are having trouble understanding.



This is the problem - we don't know what people's expectations are, we aren't comparing like with like. Plus there are places on the list with hardly any commuter stations (Nottingham and Leicester have hardly any "local" services, Sheffield's handful of urban stations get a low service - hourly at Darnall/ Woodhouse and bi-hourly at Dore), so there's not the same number of local commuters to interview.

Maybe the Mancunian commuters were ones on Pacers, maybe they were ones using 180s who still had a low expectation of the stock, dunno.

Unless the survey was done pre-September 2011 then the 180s had been replaced by cascaded 150s.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't think there is any merit in this survey at all. I have tried to check a single item in the table which is the cost of a railway season ticket to Liverpool which is quoted as £1547 average for stations between 10 and 19 miles from Liverpool. I cannot find any season tickets which cost this much for any station within 19 miles of Liverpool.

Buying weekly tickets for Warrington to Manchester would come to £1641.60 over 48 weeks, that's almost £100 over the figure quoted.

Most Liverpool commuters will used a Trio ticket which costs £1152 for an annual all zones ticket (or a cheaper more limited ticket).

If they cannot work that out (5 minutes on the Merseytravel website) it just shows what a pile of rubbish the whole thing is.

So have you read the bit about journey lengths of 10-19 miles being used?

I did wonder why at first but it's actually quite obvious when you think about.

For Birkenhead to Liverpool you have a choice of train, bus and ferry so if the train is very expensive then you're not forced to use it. On the other hand for Warrington to Liverpool buses would be much slower so really the train is the only viable option.

It seems they've compared the cities fairly but with London being much larger and having commuters doing longer average distances the 'fair' comparison doesn't do London justice.
 

tbtc

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No-one's quoted any examples for Cardiff expect the average figure given in the report.

Like it said it's the figure the passenger pays that's important for the scope of this survey, if 99.9% of commuters in Manchester can't afford to buy an annual season ticket in advance but it's only 50% in London then that could explain, which seems to be what some people are having trouble understanding.

You've said that buying 48 weekly tickets would cost more for Mancunian commuters, so the annual figures that other posters have quoted should be taken with a pinch of salt...

...but this ignores the fact that commuters in Cardiff (where the average wage is lower than Manchester) may also buy weekly tickets for the same reasons.

London is always going to be a "special case" (due to the larger number of people commuting/ longer average distance of commute/ different infrastructure issues) - the real comparisons should be between cities with large urban rail networks (Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham), plus a separate comparison between cities that lack significant suburban rail services (Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester).

So the question is "what is the difference between the Manchester experience (worst perception) and the Cardiff experience (best perception)".

Or, maybe, how come passengers in Leeds (which has almost twice the number of "overcrowded" services that Manchester has) aren't as miserable as Mancunians about their commute?

Given the complaints on here you'd think that Leeds was the jewel in Northern's crown, with all the best stock etc and Manchester was the place where half the trains were "overcrowded".
 

aformeruser

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Or, maybe, how come passengers in Leeds (which has almost twice the number of "overcrowded" services that Manchester has) aren't as miserable as Mancunians about their commute?

From my experience West Yorkshire PTE fares are among the lowest in England if not the lowest.

I imagine a lot of the commuters unhappy about overcrowding to get to Leeds are from Huddersfield and Dewsbury, where significant improvements are planned starting in 2014 so maybe they are less unhappy because they have been promised good improvements. You're probably going to say about electrification in the North West but there aren't actually any concrete plans for improvements for the number of services serving Bolton at present, just a load of possible plans, with only certainty at present the loss of direct Scottish services.
 

tbtc

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From my experience West Yorkshire PTE fares are among the lowest in England if not the lowest.

I imagine a lot of the commuters unhappy about overcrowding to get to Leeds are from Huddersfield and Dewsbury, where significant improvements are planned starting in 2014 so maybe they are less unhappy because they have been promised good improvements. You're probably going to say about electrification in the North West but there aren't actually any concrete plans for improvements for the number of services serving Bolton at present, just a load of possible plans, with only certainty at present the loss of direct Scottish services.

The quoted figures show a few places with lower figures than Leeds (Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff...) so I think that dispels the "lowest fares" argument.

Lines in/around Manchester will obviously have improvements in a few years time with the number of electrification projects (e.g. the Liverpool - Warrington Bank Quay service being extended to Manchester, potential for "fast" services from Wigan to Manchester via Chat Moss), whereas only one line through Leeds will see electrification.

So given that Manchester has only around half the overcrowding that Leeds does, given that Manchester doesn't have the lowest fares (e.g. in Sheffield we have higher fares despite a lower average wage - plus very few suburban stations)... why so miserable?
 

aformeruser

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The quoted figures show a few places with lower figures than Leeds (Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff...) so I think that dispels the "lowest fares" argument.

But the most overcrowded routes around Leeds are the PTE subsided routes. I imagine people doing Selby-Leeds enjoy a quieter train with a higher fare while people doing Dewsbury-Leeds get an overcrowded train but for a cheaper price.

Your argument was there were a higher percent of Leeds commuters who suffered overcrowding but they were less unhappy overall than Manchester commuters.
 

Gwenllian2001

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I stood all the way to Shrewsbury from Cardiff last Friday on the 1405 to Piccadilly which was a 2 car 175 hate to think what the return working was like it being the 1730 off Piccadily!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


No its (lowish fares/ relative high frequency in parts) a hangover from BR days and strong support from local authority's 20 odd years ago. The PSR was just a copy of what BR did so if BR were doing relativity well it got written it to the franchise agreements.

Well, in a way, it is to do with 'Devolution', not in the political sense but in the way that BR was being run when the Provincial Sector was set up. This gave management in Wales a great deal of freedom to organize time tables and set fares in partnership with the County Councils. By the time Regional Railways got a grip on things, the present system* was firmly in place. The original PSR was not a copy of the BR service and, if it had gone unchallenged, would have seen a reduction in services. The Maesteg service, for example, was to have been reduced to two hourly, a recipe for certain failure.

* Since that time we have had two further re-openings; Ebbw Vale, a mainly stand alone service and the Vale of Glamorgan, integrated into the Valley Lines service, both with input from the local authorities and the Welsh Government. It is unlikely that either service would exist but for Devolution.
 

Mainliner

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Flying back into Manchester airport the other week, and catching a TPE to Newcastle, I was amazed to see that a train for Windermere had 6 coaches, and left almost empty, whilst the 3-coach TPE was rammed from the outset, with the pitifully inadequate luggage space for an airport service immediately full, and the remaining luggage lying all over the place, and people standing/sitting on and around it. Ludicrous.

Not surprised if the local passengers are miserable, if that's what they have to put up with all the time.
 
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