Customer satisfaction at ScotRail has plunged over the past year
The under-fire company is one of three UK rail operators to be criticised for a "significant decline" in customer service.
Only 82 per cent of people believe ScotRail provides a satisfactory service, according to the Autumn 2016 National Rail Passenger Survey.
It represents a seven per cent fall in the previous year's figure – only exceeded by Southern, down 12 per cent, and equalled by Great Northern.
The survey comes just days after ScotRail chief, Phil Verster announced that he is quitting his £260,000-a-year post amid mounting pressure over the company's poor performance.
The 53-year-old's departure has heaped pressure on Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to speed up improvements on Scotland's railways.
Last night, opposition politicians reacted with concern to the latest findings, pointing out that the sharp fall in satisfaction came hard on the heels of the SNP's decision to award the ScotRail contract to Dutch firm Abellio in April 2015.
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The survey by watchdog Transport Focus assessed passenger satisfaction against a 35-point list of criteria covering both trains and stations.
Increased passenger numbers are putting extra pressure on the rail network
Anthony Smith of Transport Focus
Worryingly, ScotRail's performance declined in 33 areas and remained static in the other two.
Just 82 per cent of the 1,357 ScotRail users polled were satisfied with trains and only 79 per cent were content with stations.
Satisfaction with the punctuality and reliability of trains was down six per cent to 80 per cent, the company's approach to dealing with delays plunged 13 per cent to just 38 per cent, while the availability of staff on trains fell nine per cent to 64 per cent.
ScotRail boss Phil Verster will be stepping down as head of ScotRail
Only 59 per cent of people were satisfied with the value of tickets while the same number were content with the availability of seats in stations.
Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "These are disappointing results and a departure from ScotRail's previous good performance. Sadly, punctuality – which drives passenger views of the railway-has fallen six percentage points.
"Increased passenger numbers are putting extra pressure on the rail network both in its day-to-day operation and during rebuilding."
Less than 80 per cent of customers were satisfied with the ScotRail service
Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: "Today's survey confirms that Scotland's commuters think ScotRail's performance has gone downhill since the SNP handed the contract to Abellio.
"Passengers are fed up with delayed, overcrowded and cancelled trains. ScotRail's performance simply isn't good enough."
Mr Verster, who will be replaced by Alex Hynes, current managing director of Arriva Rail North, said its punctuality and reliability is "improving".
He added: "Everyone who works on Scotland's railway will be disappointed by these results."