The number of passengers who think their train ticket offers value for money has sunk to an alltime low, according to a customer group.
Only 41 per cent of travellers believe their ticket offers good or satisfactory value for money, with 37 per cent rating it unsatisfactory or poor, the survey from the Passenger Focus group found.
The 41 per cent figure was four percentage points lower than a survey conducted in autumn 2005 and equals the lowest-ever rating.
There was better news for the rail industry from other aspects of the survey of 26,000 passengers.
A total of 80 per cent of passengers were satisfied with their overall journey, while 79 per cent were satisfied with the punctuality and reliability of their t rains - the highest recorded figure.
But fewer than half (46 per cent) of passengers were happy with car parking facilities at stations and only 35 per cent were satisfied with the way train companies dealt with delays.
Also, only 39 per cent of customers were happy about the availability of staff on trains.
Eleven train operators have significantly improved their survey ratings compared to the same time last year, with the highest ratings for overall satisfaction achieved by Gatwick Express (94 per cent) and, among several others, Virgin West Coast (90 per cent).
The lowest ratings for overall satisfaction were given to the One train company (71 per cent), Thameslink (74 per cent), and First Great Western Link (76 per cent).
Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Well done to those train companies who are getting the basics right. Satisfaction with trains arriving on time is finally getting to something like an acceptable level.
"But it's a paradox that as more passengers are satisfied with the overall journey, so value-for-money ratings continue to scrape along the bottom."
He added: "Value for money is becoming the Achilles' heel of the rail industry. Our concern is that longer-distance passengers are perplexed by a complicated system so are never sure that they're getting the right ticket.
"There are great deals out there but some passengers feel bewildered by a range of tickets which includes a 'Firstminute business standard B'. Is that a first, business or standard class ticket?" ..SUPL: