Poll reveals pent up demand for rail travel

Almost two thirds of rail passengers (60%) want to see better integration with other modes of transport, according to a new poll.


They want to be able to reserve connecting trains and other modes of travel in advance on a single ticket when booking their long distance rail journey, the research for GDS and technology provider Amadeus found.


And more than three quarters of the 7,000 pan-European rail travellers surveyed would choose to catch an international high speed train instead of taking another means of transport if the cost was competitive.


In addition to keen pricing, respondents said they would choose a long distance, high speed, international train journey rather than flying or driving if it was a “more enjoyable and comfortable experience” (52%), had a “lower risk of disruption and cancellations” (51%) and if there was seamless connections to other services such as car rental and flights (46%).


More than half (52%) want greater business intelligence identifying their travel preferences such as seat position and location.


Those surveyed also indicated they would pre-book “on-board entertainment or Wi-Fi” (46%), “fast track check-in and security” (38%) and “hotel bookings, transfers and travel insurance” (37%).


The percentage of UK adults (17%) wanting “access to VIP and business lounges” was higher than in other countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.


Knowledge of passengers’ “total travel itinerary” – such as connecting flights, hotel accommodation and car rental (46%) and technology preferences (39%) were identified as key pieces of information of which rail providers should be aware of.


When asked by YouGov what they expected to find at an international railway station by 2014, more than 70% said they expected to find comfortable seating and relaxation areas. The second most popular service – mobile payments – was selected by two fifths of respondents.


Other services which people hoped to see in the future included a concierge service which was particularly popular amongst Italians (41%). Nearly a third of Spanish adults (31%) said they would expect a “gaming and entertainment suite”, in comparison to only one in 14 German adults (7%).


Head of Amadeus Rail Thomas Drexler said: “The renaissance of rail is truly underway. The next three years will see the transformation of rail as it firmly establishes itself as a truly international form of high speed travel.


“The survey results provide insights into what rail travellers demand of rail companies in the future if they are to make rail a real option for cross-border journeys.


“The next frontier is to deliver a seamless travel experience based on knowing the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s traveller and this survey goes some way towards meeting that challenge.”

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