Counts and Surveys
Passenger counts are undertaken regularly and the results of the 2015 counts will be published shortly after the passenger survey planned for November 11th 2015.
Preston-Ormskirk Passenger Survey 11th November (All Services)
Its purpose is to produce a comprehensive and objective analysis of travel patterns and journey requirements and obtain passenger feedback on how services need to be improved.
The research involves completion of a 9 question survey form that needs single word or tick box answers, by as many passengers as possible on a single day of midweek services. This may be later supplemented by a smaller sample of passengers using the service on a Saturday.
More to follow including survey for rail and non-rail travellers.
Pre May 2014 timetable counts
Autumn 2014 counts
It can be seen from the counts over the last 2 years that despite the service constraints in terms of capacity and its infrequency, the line has seen passenger growth that exceeds the national average. Demand will only continue to rise with housing development in West Lancashire and South Ribble; nearly 200 new dwellings have been built recently alongside Croston and Burscough Junction stations and are now on the market with some already occupied. A planning application is also going through for over 500 new houses in Burscough. It is worth noting that Edge Hill University has just completed its own travel survey of its students and staff, and expects to publish its findings by late May. Its numbers are growing and it has a firm policy of denying car park access for those that live close to a decent rail service.
In October 2014 a passenger survey was conducted by OPSTA on behalf of the West of Lancs Community Rail Partnership on the Preston-Ormskirk service. The CRP agreed that the summary findings report could be published following review by and agreement to do so from Northern Rail.
Based on this report and other evidence and feedback collected by OPSTA in the last 2 years, we have recommended to bidders for the new franchise that they consider the following improvements over the minimum service specified with the Invitation to Tender (ITT):
Addition of a second train between 7.00-10.00 and 16.00-19.00 on weekday services.
Another unit with the 2 trains passing at Rufford would deliver much needed capacity and a timetable to meet commuter need. Instead of having a lengthy layover at Ormskirk while the alternate unit made its return trip from Preston, it should be possible to introduce an additional short shuttle run to Burscough Junction giving a frequency that would satisfy an unmet demand for connections to Liverpool (as evidenced by high level of rail heading at Ormskirk and Maghull).
Later final services on weekday and Saturday services.
The specification of a 14th return service in the ITT appears to support this although OPSTA has not been able to identify sufficient demand for more services during the evening, with the exception of Burscough Junction to Ormskirk/ Liverpool.
Introduction of Sunday services.
A case could be developed for a fewer trains over a shorter day than Monday-Saturday, with demand from all 3 main market sectors viz work, education and leisure. OPSTA is working with the CRP and Northern Rail to test this through occasional Sunday workings between now and the end of the current franchise.
The findings from the previous July 2013 survey are here.