November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
The majority of business travellers who regularly use trains in the UK are in support of the High Speed 2 rail project.
A survey of more than 1,000 corporate travellers carried out by the GTMC found that 56 per cent backed HS2, while only 25 per cent were against the £42.6 billion scheme.
The majority (74 per cent) also said that it was “important” or “very important” that HS2 is linked to Heathrow, while 62 per cent wanted any high-speed service from northern England to be linked through to mainland Europe.
The main reasons for supporting HS2 were the extra capacity it would add (25 per cent) and faster journeys (22 per cent).
GTMC surveyed business travellers who had travelled by rail at least six times per year on journeys of more than 50 miles in the UK.
Most rail travellers (74 per cent) also said that UK train operating companies should be able to compete against each other on the same lines.
GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said: “The GTMC will be using this and other supporting data to lobby government for ‘Open Access’ to be more widely adopted across the network, as franchises expire during the next parliament.
“Essentially we will be arguing to bring true competition to the network in order to get a better deal for business travellers on price, capacity and innovation.”
Some 45 per cent of survey respondents said that awarding 10-year rail franchises “encouraged complacency” by operators while 72 per cent wanted some franchises to remain in public ownership. For example, 61 per cent said that the East Coast mainline, which is due to go out to tender, should remain publicly owned.
As for onboard services, only 11 per cent of business travellers said there was no wifi on the routes they used, while 18 per cent said there were no power points on their trains.
The biggest complaints about rail services was over overcrowding with 57 per cent saying they were forced to stand “often or nearly always” on their train journeys.