The first commuter service to use high speed rail lines have prompted overwhelming consumer support, according to new research by high speed pressure group Greenauge21
More than 90% of passengers are either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the service according to the research conducted by The Leading Edge.
Positive customer experience have triggered a rapid spread of positive views across blogs and newspaper websites.
59% of users are commuting, 22% travelling on business and the remainder are on leisure trips.
The research also suggests that 11% users have switched from road to rail as a result of the high speed services, higher than predicted. However, earlier research amongst commuters in Kent suggested that this ‘modal switch’ would be perhaps twice as large an effect in the absence of a fare premium.
“We already have a clear demonstration that high-speed rail will attract people away from more carbon-intensive car use”, said Greengauge 21 Director, Jim Steer.
“The new high-speed services have been running in Kent for 6 months on a Preview basis, sufficient to get an early measure of the impact the full service will have. We have found that there has already been diversion from car (mainly) and coach to high-speed rail – 8% overall, 11% at Ebbsfleet – as well as from existing, slower train services. He pointed out that the rate of diversion from private car use was higher than the levels assumed in their forecasts for a national high-speed rail network made earlier this year.
“We also have uncovered evidence that there is sharpening interest in the residential and commercial property markets in the parts of Kent served by the new services. The step-change in transport connectivity leaves the county very well-placed to emerge strongly from the recession and over the next few years, key towns in Kent can expect a regeneration boost.
“If we proceed with a national high-speed network, these beneficial effects can be shared more widely across the whole country, not just in Kent”, he said.