City Trains Reviewed in 2015

Posted by Canstar Blue September 12th 2016

You are viewing the archived 2015 ratings for city train services. Go to the current city train ratings.

We surveyed passengers of metropolitan city trains to find out which service had the most satisfied travellers. So, which rail service rules the tracks?

* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in June 2015, published in July 2015.

See Our Ratings Methodology


Most Satisfied Customers | Transperth

Having asked customers what they thought about the price they paid for tickets, service reliability, timetables, cleanliness, and more; one brand emerged as the clear winner. Perth’s very own Transperth has scored five stars for overall satisfaction to secure our Most Satisfied Customers award for trains.

Which Aussies pay the most for public transport?

One of human history’s great innovations, the train is an essential part of modern day public transport. Trains provide cheap, efficient service that allows millions of people to get around Australia’s major cities every day; and serving so many people means they’re held to a high standard.

Australia’s trains need to offer good service in order to encourage more people to use a system that’s kinder to both the environment and your wallet. Indeed, the average Aussie spends roughly $20 a week on public transport, according to our survey results, while they spend roughly $132 on petrol per month – which works out to be nearly $30 a week.

It’s interesting to see which commuters pay the most in public transport costs each week:

  Queensland New South Wales Victoria South Australia Western Australia
Average weekly spend ($) $22.60 $22.28 $18.88 $17.35 $13.99

Source: Canstar Blue Research, 2015

Granted, it’s difficult to tell whether Queenslanders and NSW residents pay more each week because of higher usage of the trains, or more expensive tickets. It should be noted that 73% of all survey respondents stated it’s cheaper for them to catch the train than it is to drive…although Queenslanders were least likely to hold this view, with a lower 63% agreement rate.

Price aside, how do Australia’s public train networks stack up, and which city is home to the best set of rails?

Transperth on track to win our Most Satisfied Customers award

We’ve rated train operations in our major cities based on the satisfaction of thousands of Aussie commuters. Having asked customers what they thought about the price they paid for tickets, service reliability, timetables, cleanliness, and more; one brand emerged as the clear winner. Perth’s very own Transperth has scored five stars for overall satisfaction to secure our Most Satisfied Customers award for trains.

It’s the fourth year in a row that this brand has achieved this award.

They competed against Adelaide Metro, Queensland Rail and Sydney Trains – each of which achieved four stars overall – while Melbourne’s Metro Trains achieved three stars. we take a closer look at these results below.

Ticket prices

The cost of the average train journey is often pretty low – usually a few dollars – but if it’s your regular mode of transport to work, school or elsewhere, that cost can quickly up to a pretty significant one. With the average weekly spend on train journeys in our capital cities marked at $20.31, that works out to be more than a thousand dollars every year! Every cent counts when it comes to your commute.

Transperth and Adelaide Metro both scored four stars for satisfaction with its ticket prices, whilst Sydney Trains scored three stars; Queensland Rail and Metro Trains scored just two.

Reliability of service

With a complex, city-wide system, there are bound to be some delays, and 45% of Aussies told us they often experience them. However, operators go out of their way to ensure disruptions don’t disrupt your day, and this was reflected in our results. Transperth secured a five-star rating for the reliability of its service. Close behind were Adelaide Metro and Queensland Rail with four stars, as well as Sydney Trains and Metro Trains on three.

Comfort of trip

Public transport tends to be fairly spartan in terms of creature comforts, but minimising costs doesn’t necessarily mean an uncomfortable journey. Soft chairs and smooth railway lines are clearly a priority for Transperth, as it secured five stars again for trip comfort. Adelaide Metro and Queensland Rail secured four star ratings in this area, with Sydney Trains and Metro Trains following with three.


Award winner Transperth secured five stars for timetabling customer satisfaction. Queensland Rail was next with four stars, whilst the metro systems of Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne were awarded three star ratings.


An overwhelming 89% of Aussies felt safe catching the train during the day; although this fell to 48% at night. There was a lot of variation here: 57% of Queenslanders were confident travelling at night, compared to just 40% of Western Australians.

Unsurprisingly then, it was Queensland Rail which scored five stars for safety, whilst Transperth, Adelaide Metro and Sydney Trains did well to score four stars; Metro Trains finished with three.

Cleanliness of train & station

Clean public transport venues are as much a result of public education as they are of regular maintenance, and it benefits everyone to invest in keeping heavily-used services clean and tidy. Transperth topped the list here with five stars, followed by the train services of Adelaide and Queensland with four stars. Sydney Trains finished on three stars, whilst Metro Trains had just two.

Ticketing system

Whilst cities such as Melbourne and Brisbane have implemented useful travel card systems, there’ll always be a need for individual paper tickets. An efficient ticketing system is helped by a clear price structure and simple transactions, which make the whole thing as easy as possible for passengers.

Once more it was Transperth which took the cake, with five stars for its ticketing, topping four-star achiever Adelaide Metro. Lower in the pecking order were Queensland Rail and Sydney Trains with three stars each, ahead of Metro Trains on two stars.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have used a domestic metropolitan train service in the last 6 months – in this case, 1,579 Australians.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.