The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has released findings of its new survey entitled The Voice of the Business Rail Traveller, which show majority support for the planned HS2 rail project and the desire for it to connect with mainland Europe.
Additional rail capacity and saving time were the main reasons cited by respondents for wanting the go ahead with the £42bn high-speed line.
On the issue of rail franchises the respondents were in favour of ‘Open access’, allowing train companies to compete against each other on the same lines.
The GTMC analysed data from a survey of more than 1,000 respondents who travelled by rail a minimum of six times a year for UK business trips of 50-plus miles.
Questions on HS2 showed 56 per cent in support and 25 per cent opposed. Nearly three-quarters (74%) said it was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ that HS2 links Heathrow.
Sixty-two per cent of the respondents said that any high-speed rail service from the North of England should connect to mainland Europe. A quarter believe additional capacity is the most convincing argument for the service, with 22 per cent saying speed.
Seventy-two per cent agreed with the premise that some railway franchises should be publicly owned.
GTMC Chief Executive Paul Wait said: “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.”
Wait said: “In total 56 per cent are in support of HS2 but this rises to 70 per cent among the 18-29 year olds surveyed.”
A major area of disgruntlement was the issue of standing due to overcrowding, with over half (57%) saying they are often or nearly always forced to stand from the beginning of their journey in to or from work.
On the wish list was more Wi-Fi, more power points, better catering and business lounges at stations and onboard.
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