SATISFACTION with ScotRail's service has dropped to its lowest level since Abellio took over the franchise, according to the results of a new independent survey.

The National Rail Passenger Survey, carried out by the independent watchdog Transport Focus, found that 79 per cent of the 1,200 ScotRail customers surveyed are satisfied with the train operator, which is the same as the UK average.

However, the satisfaction rating has dipped significantly from 84 per cent when the results of the last survey were published in the autumn.

It's also a significant fall from the level of 90 per cent – the highest since Abellio took on the ScotRail franchise in 2015 – which was achieved in the autumn of 2015 and again in spring 2017.

The survey, which was carried out during a challenging spell of autumn weather, shows that:

– The satisfaction of leisure travellers, ScotRail’s largest customer group, is at its highest level since spring 2016 – at 91 per cent;

– Satisfaction with ScotRail’s ticket buying facilities has increased by five percentage points compared to last year, following a significant investment in new ticket machines and Smartcard technology;

– Customers are more satisfied with the overall environment of ScotRail stations.

The number of ScotRail customer journeys increased by 23.5 million over the previous decade – rising from 74.2 million in 2007/08 to 97.8 million in 2017/18.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail's head of customer operations, said: “While it’s good news that four out of five of our customers are satisfied with ScotRail, we know there is much more to do given the challenges we have faced in recent months.

“Everyone at ScotRail is working flat out to deliver the improved service our customers expect and deserve.”