Survey: Public support high speed rail – but they don’t care if it’s fast (and hardly anyone is expecting it to be built on time and budget)

Only a quarter of people who would consider using HS2 care about how fast the service will be, according to a new survey published today (Tuesday).

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 2nd April 2013, 4:26 pm

The poll of 1,599 adults, carried out by Consumer Intelligence, revealed that of those people that think they will use HS2, ticket prices are ranked as the most important factor by 67%.

Speed is only cited by 24% of respondents as the most important factor despite it being one of the core arguments in its favour put forward by the government.

The survey also showed that 52% of people are in favour of HS2 compared to 18% against it and 30% who are uncertain.

However, just one in 10 people believe HS2, which will cut through Aylesbury Vale, will keep to budget and schedule.

The findings showed people felt there were better infrastructure projects which would be better for the economy. One in three respondents cited expenditure on roads as most likely to have a beneficial impact, followed by existing railways (27%).

HS2 was cited as most likely to boost the economy by 9% of people, the same as broadband.

David Black of Consumer Intelligence said: “While the HS2 project enjoys support from 52% of the public there is very little confidence that it will be finished either on time or on budget.

“Given that the main reason for the project is to enable faster journeys it is alarming that far more of those that are intending to use it will primarily decide to do so based on the ticket price rather than the speed of the journey.

“There is also some work to do in convincing the public that this is the best use of government spending, with 91% of consumers believing the budget would boost the economy more if it was spent on alternative transport or communication projects.”