Letters: “Sham survey by EWR had ambiguous questions shaped to provide mostly meaningless data”

East West Rail (EWR) jacket
Image: East West Rail Co

Dear editor,

With regard to your article of 23 September, Disbelief as EWR chief claims most people support new rail route, I think I may have found the source of Beth West’s trumpeted support data.

In March 2022 EWR commissioned a 1000-person telephone and face-to-face survey (70%/30% split) sampling from towns along the entire Oxford to Cambridge route that asked questions about a ‘new east-west public transport link’.

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However, the questions make no mention of the word ‘railway’ and certainly no mention of the controversial proposed Bedford-Cambridge route ‘E’.

In short, another sham survey by EWR with ambiguous questions shaped to provide mostly meaningless data.

For what it’s worth other borderline interesting findings from the survey are that,

  • 45% [of respondents] said that a new east-west public transport link would have a negative impact on house prices in the local community
  • 88% [of respondents] stated that they already have a good quality of life and
  • 71% [of respondents] agreed that ‘My local community is [already] a prosperous one’.

Again and again, EWR’s crass PR efforts undermine local people’s trust in both their honesty and their ability to deliver a sensible solution.

In the same article, I note that the predicated rail journey time has magically lost 10 mins from earlier predictions (45 down to 35).

Yet, the road journey time is presented as an exaggerated 75 minutes, a journey that can be made comfortably in 45 minutes even before the new Black Cat to Caxton A421 dual carriageway is completed, a scheme which incidentally does have budget approval.


James Stanbridge
Byron Crescent

Editor’s note: Thank you for your letter, James. We are aware of this survey (Savanta: 18 February to 10 March 2022). However, we are still at a loss as to why EWR have not linked to it, or any more recent studies, when making comments about the support for the rail line.

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