REVEALED: What passengers really think of trams in Sheffield

Satisfaction levels in Sheffield were higher than for all but one of the five tram networks assessed
Satisfaction levels in Sheffield were higher than for all but one of the five tram networks assessed
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Passenger satisfaction with Sheffield's trams has risen to the second highest level on record, a new report shows.

More than 1,000 people had their say about the service, with 95 per cent declaring themselves satisfied with the journey overall, in Transport Focus' latest Tram Passenger Survey.

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The satisfaction rate was up four per cent from the previous year, the watchdog found, and was the second highest recorded since the annual survey began in 2013.

It was higher than for tram services in Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham, and below only Blackpool Transport, which scored 97 per cent.

Transport Focus quizzed passengers on board trams in all five cities last autumn, and the findings were published today.

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The results also revealed 74 per cent of customers in Sheffield considered their journey was value for money, 92 per cent were satisfied with the journey time and 82 per cent were happy with the punctuality.

Some passengers said real-time information at stops could be better, with others calling for card payments to be taken on board, greater frequency at rush hour to prevent overcrowding, and conductors to be 'more firm' when it came to ejecting loud and disruptive passengers.

Jeff Halliwell, chairman of Transport Focus, said: "This is the highest endorsement by passengers in Sheffield since we started TPS in 2013, and suggests that network stability (after periods of engineering work) and the introduction of new trams are pleasing local passengers."

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He added that the comfort and environment on board trams was the biggest factor influencing passengers' satisfaction, and said the growing popularity of trams could pose a challenge to operators as their services become busier and more crowded.

The watchdog plans to meet the operators of all five networks which were assessed to go through the results and analyse what can be learnt.

Transport Focus, which also carries out passenger surveys on buses, revealed the overall satisfaction rate for Sheffield Supertram was significantly higher than the 87 per cent for buses in South Yorkshire.

Other findings from the survey in Sheffield included:

* 11 per cent of passengers taking part in the survey experienced a delay during their journey

* The average waiting time of 6.2 minutes was shorter than the 6.9 minutes customers expected to wait

* Only four per cent of respondents were worried or concerned by other passengers' behaviour, with feet on seats and rowdy behaviour being the biggest gripes

* Just under half those surveyed used trams to commute to work or their place of learning

* Overall satisfaction was higher on the yellow line (96 per cent) than the blue and purple lines (94 per cent)

* Punctuality was also better on the yellow line, with an 86 per cent satisfaction rate, compared with 77 per cent for the blue and purple lines

* Most passengers were happy with the space they had in which to sit or stand, with the 84 per cent satisfaction rate well above the average of 75 for all tram networks

There were 12.6 million passenger journeys made on Sheffield's trams during 2016/17, according to the latest government figures.

Sheffield's tram network is the third largest of the five assessed, with 48 stops compared with 93 on the Manchester Metrolink and 50 on the Nottingham Express Transit.

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach Supertram said: "The result reflects the dedication of our staff, the positive impact following recent rail replacement works, customer service training and our continued investment in fleet reliability.

"Since this survey was taken, we have also revised our timetable which means that our service is now even more reliable and punctual."

All passengers who took part in the Transport Focus survey were approached while making a journey and were asked to complete a questionnaire either online or on paper.

* You can view the findings in full at www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/tram-passenger-survey-2017.