Survey reveals what passengers most looking forward to on return to rail

Four in 10 Brits are most looking forward to a change of scenery on their return to the railways when lockdown restrictions end, according to a new survey.

Commissioned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the survey asked passengers what they are most looking forward to about train travel. The top three answers were; enjoying a change of scenery, exploring the UK and having some time to wind down.

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The results showed some generational differences. Respondents aged between 16-24 have seemingly used their time in lockdown to learn, with 23% looking forward to practicing their new hobbies while on board, compared to just 4% of over 55s.

When asked to consider what they had missed the most about train travel, most respondents chose scenic views out of the window. The top three most-missed things about rail travel were scenic views. being able to visit family and friends and knowing the journey is taken care of without having to navigate.

When asked what would make people feel more confident about travelling by train, the top responses were social distancing and the use of face coverings (both at 44%) and the availability of hand sanitiser (41%). The rail operator is reassuring customers by sharing insights and a new video featuring its colleagues showcasing the huge levels of preparation that have been put in place, including more cleaning staff than ever before working to keep customers safe and the use of a long-lasting viruscide across all stations and trains, with a particular focus on touchpoints.

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Steve White, GTR’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’re excited to welcome people back to the railway but we know it could be a big change for people who haven’t travelled for a while. We’ve been supporting our fantastic key workers for the past year by keeping the railway running for those who’ve needed to travel. Now, as more passengers start to return, we want to ensure everyone feels safe, reassured and confident – whether they’re having a first meet up with friends, exploring the local area or simply enjoying the views they haven’t seen for a while from their train window.”

For everyone’s safety and comfort, GTR is also reminding passengers to wear face coverings on board and on platforms unless exempt, to keep their distance where they can and sanitise their hands before and after every journey.

To help passengers returning to rail plan their journeys and pick the quietest times to travel, GTR has developed new tools such as its ‘Live Map’, which shows how busy trains are to help people identify quieter times for their journeys, and is encouraging all customers to check before they travel. There are also many contactless options for travel across the network, including barcode readers at 60 stations and the Key smartcard for e-tickets.

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Sam Hewitt

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