Rail passengers in Melbourne remain the most discontent in Australia.
Canstar Blue’s 2016 review of Melbourne’s metropolitan rail service has seen Metro Trains achieve two or three stars out of five in all research categories, including service reliability, trip comfort and ticket price. The only area in which it has improved from last year is in regards to train and station cleanliness, going from two to three stars.
While the number of passengers who report regular delays and overcrowding has gone down, there has been a marginal increase in the number who often experience anti-social behaviour on the network. And while the number of passengers who say they feel safe on the network during the day has increased slightly, the number of those who feel safe travelling at nights has dropped, as the following survey results show.
|I often experience delays||56%||53%|
|I often experience overcrowding||71%||70%|
|I often witness anti-social behaviour||49%||50%|
|I feel safe catching the train during the day||87%||88%|
|I feel safe catching the train at night||46%||42%|
|I would like to see extra police or security staff on trains and stations||74%||77%|
Metro Trains ratings
This year, Canstar Blue surveyed a total of 6,000 adults across Australia to form its 2016 customer ratings for city trains. For the fifth year in a row, TransPerth was rated highest overall with five stars, while Adelaide Metro, Sydney Trains and Queensland Rail all scored four stars overall. Melbourne’s Metro Trains scored three stars overall, with customers particularly aggrieved at the ticketing system and cost of travel.
Cost of travel
Metro Trains customers who use the rail network to get to and from work every day spend an average of $35 per week. This compares favourably to Brisbane ($46), Sydney ($43) and Adelaide ($38). However, commuters in Perth spend the least on average, at $33 per week.
Just over half of commuters in Melbourne (52%) believe taking the train is the most convenient way of getting to work, while 55% also declare it cheaper than driving. About one in four (27%) also say they have no other choice but to catch the train.
Survey respondents in Adelaide are the most likely to declare their rail service as the most convenient way to get to work (67%) and cheaper than driving (64%). Those in Brisbane are least likely to take the train out of convenience (49%), with those in Perth least likely to say taking the train is the cheapest way to get to work (42%).
While the number of Metro Trains passengers who report regular delays has dropped over the last 12 months, from 56% to 53%, Melbourne remains the city with the biggest problem in this area, in the eyes of customers. In Sydney, the number of passengers who often experience delays is 40%, followed by Adelaide (33%), Brisbane (26%) and Perth (15%).
With seven out of ten Metro Trains customers (70%) reporting regular overcrowding, Melbourne also suffers more than any other major Australian city in this area. In Sydney, 62% of passengers say they often experience overcrowding, followed by Perth (51%), Brisbane (45%) and Adelaide (36%).
After a small increase in the number of Metro Trains customers who say they often witness anti-social behaviour on the network, from 49% to 50%, Melbourne trails only Adelaide (51%) in this regard. In Sydney the number is 47%, followed by Brisbane (44%) and Perth (43%).
There is little difference between the cities when it comes to the number of passengers who feel safe travelling during the day. Brisbane leads the way at 91%, just ahead of Adelaide and Perth (90%). The percentage drops slightly to 89% in Sydney and 88% in Melbourne.
However, just 42% of survey respondents in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide feel safe travelling at night. This compares to 43% in Brisbane and 46% in Sydney.
There is also little difference when it comes to the number of passengers who would like to see extra police or security staff on trains and at stations. Sydney leads the way with 78%, followed by Melbourne and Adelaide (77%), then Brisbane (76%) and Perth (74%).
Threat of terrorism
The number of Melbourne rail passengers who say the threat of terrorism has made them more nervous about catching the train has increased from 22% to 25% over the last year. Travellers in Sydney (29%) are most likely to feel nervous, with the number in Brisbane also at 25%. In Adelaide and Perth it stands at just 18%.
Pet hates of rail travel
Aside from issues already reported, such as delays and overcrowding, Melbourne rail passengers were also asked about their other ‘pet hates’ of traveling on the network.
Top of the list was ‘other passengers being rude or aggressive’, deemed a frustration by 53% of survey respondents in the city, followed by:
- Smelly passengers: 52%
- Other passengers having loud personal conversations: 51%
- Other passengers sneezing or coughing: 49%
- Other passengers playing music loudly: 40%
- Children being loud or misbehaving: 33%
- Other passengers standing too close: 32%
- Other passengers pushing past to find a seat or leave the train: 31%
- Other passengers taking up too much room (e.g. with laptops or newspapers): 28%
- Other passengers trying to make conversation: 11%
- Parents with prams/strollers taking up space: 10%
For more information on this year’s report, or to speak with a Canstar Blue spokesperson, click here for contact details.