TfNSW has published its latest six-monthly customer satisfaction survey of
all transport modes in NSW. For public transport, the following are the key
Suburban trains, buses and light rail each rated at 93% satisfaction, while
ferry rated at 99% and metro at 98%. Suburban trains and buses have risen
from 79% in 2012, light rail from 91% in 2012, ferries from 94% in 2012 and
metro from 95% in 2019.
Suburban train passengers were most satisfied with access to train
stations, ticketing and safety and security and least satisfied with
frequency, journey time and time taken to connect with other transport.
Bus passengers were most satisfied with safety and security and least
satisfied with frequency and service delays. Buses are the only mode that
has to complete with other traffic on its shared "right of way" so the last
point is hardly surprising.
Light rail passengers were most satisfied with safety, security and
cleanliness and least satisfied with journey time, frequency, seat
availability and personal space.
Metro passengers were most satisfied with cleanliness, accessibility and
ease of getting on and off trains and least satisfied with time to connect
with other transport and ease of getting to the metro station.
Ferries have an unfair advantage because they are inherently the most
delightful form of public transport and, nowadays, also the fastest. Ferry
passengers were most satisfied with safety, security, accessibility and
ease of getting on and off ferries and least satisfied with frequencies.
A common issue through most modes is dissatisfaction with service (and
service delay) information. That's something that's in TfNSW's court.
Dissatisfaction percentages on specific criteria are generally lowest
(indeed miniscule) for ferries. Transdev is obviously doing something right
there. Other notable good scores for specific features are:
Journey time for the distance travelled - metro has a perfect score with
complete satisfaction; followed by ferries with only 1% dissatisfied, buses
4% dissatisfied, suburban trains with 7% dissatisfied and light rail with
Seat availability, comfort and personal space - ferries with only 1-2%
dissatisfied, metro with 2-3% dissatisfied, followed by buses with 3-4%
dissatisfied, suburban trains with 4% dissatisfied and light rail with 4-7%
Comfort at the stop or station (seating and shelter) - metro stations at 3%
dissatisfaction, ferry wharves at 3% dissatisfaction. light rail stops at
6% dissatisfaction, suburban train stations at 6% dissatisfaction and bus
stops at 8% dissatisfaction.
Although overall satisfaction figures are very high, there are elements of
dissatisfaction that point to room for improvement for suburban trains,
buses and light rail. Ferries and metro are unquestionably Sydney's best
systems and what TfNSW seems to be best at. Suburban trains and buses are
beset by long-standing structural problems that will take a long time to
overcome, but the high perception of comfort on metro and buses compared to
the other two rail modes may surprise some who consider those latter two to
be the queens of comfort.
Finally, while suburban trains and buses have, in fairness, many legacy
constraints to overcome, the same excuse can't be applied to light rail
which should have been perfect from day one. So there's a bit of a to-do
list there, including journey time, frequency (on IWLR more than CSELR) and
comfort, this last one frankly pretty-much unsolvable with double-ended