The TfNSW Customer Satisfaction Survey results for 2022 (May) have been
There is not a great deal of difference from last year's results. Overall,
metro and ferries still rate highest at 98%, light rail at 93%, while
suburban train and bus have dropped a point to 92%.
Leaving aside issues that are more down to TfNSW rather than the individual
operations, like ticketing, globalised passenger information and access to
stations and stops, mode-specific detail issues rate as follows.
Comparing suburban train with metro, suburban is at its own best on access
to the station and train, seat availability and presentation and knowledge
of staff and worst at frequency, journey time and ease of connections.
Apart from the externalities mentioned above, metro had no noteworthy
downsides except information about service delays, which are extremely
rare. Metro was significantly ahead of suburban on timeliness, frequency,
journey time, cleanliness, safety and ease of connections. It was a point
ahead of suburban on comfort, temperature and personal space and a point
behind on seat availability.
Comparing light rail with bus, light rail generally maintained its previous
level of satisfaction, passengers being most satisfied with safety,
security, cleanliness and accessibility and least satisfied with frequency,
journey times, seat availability and personal space. On buses, passengers
were most satisfied with safety and accessibility and least satisfied with
timeliness, frequency and comfort at the bus stop. On internal comfort, bus
passengers were significantly more satisfied with seat availability and
comfort and personal space compared with tram passengers and a little more
satisfied with temperature on trams. Smoothness of ride isn't assessed for
the railed modes, only for buses and ferries, but 91% of passengers were
satisfied with ride quality on buses.
Like the metro, ferries have always rated very highly in these annual
surveys and, similar to the metro, passengers are satisfied with just about
everything, the only notable discontent being with frequency (which has
improved dramatically on the Manly ferry since this survey). Smoothness of
ride is rated at 98%.
Over the ten years (since 2012, or since 2019 for metro) that these surveys
have been run under the present government, there has, overall, been a
significant improvement in satisfaction for all modes. Metro and ferry
have always been very high, up near 100%, though the ferries operation, at
the beginning, did jump up from the 94% they were at before passing to
Transdev Sydney Ferries and metro improved upon its initial running-in
phase. Light rail has pretty consistently inhabited the low 90%s without
any sign of upward movement, but I attribute this to the lines being
trapped in the lowish frequencies and slow journey times that were forced
upon them by poor planning and vehicle procurement decisions. The better
peak headways on CSELR will hopefully lift passenger perceptions.
Buses and suburban trains have improved significantly from the 79% figure
of 2012. Buses improved quite quickly and it's obvious that operational
privatisation since then hasn't harmed their customer experience at all,
contrary to the predictions of the doomsayers. Suburban trains sat points
beliow the buses for a while but have now attained parity in customer
satisfaction. Both those modes have inherited institutional issues that
inhibit their performance, but light rail, as a clean-sheet development
should in theory be doing better, indeed should be up with metro and
ferries. However, TfNSW's bungled commissioning process have left it with a
couple of bullet holes in its feet and it will take some years (and a
better set of trams) to get itself up and running as it should.