HS2

26.10.18

Rate of complaints hit six-year high for UK railway

The rate of rail complaints for the quarter has hit a six-year high due to frustrations over punctuality and reliability during the May timetable chaos, according to the ORR.

There were 29.9 complaints per 100,000 journeys in 2018-19 Q1, which is an 6.6% increase from Q1 last year, despite a long-term decline in the rate of complaints, with a 76% decrease since 1998-99.

Complaints about timetabling increased to almost 5% of all complaints in this year’s first quarter – timetable complaints typically account for les than 1% of all complaints.

With 46% of train times altering in the May 2018 timetable change, a number of TOC’s experienced a spike in complaints, particularly journeys on Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern.

The worse affected, Northern, generally saw its rates rise 63% to 26 complaints per 100,000, and the number of complaints it answered within 20 working days fell from 92% to 58%.

Northern responded by attributing the January collapse of Carillion to a decline in service.

“We rapidly had to bring all customer service functions in-house.

“The transition resulted in a short-term reduction in our ability to process complaints as quickly as we would have liked,” Northern said.

“We are sorry for the impact this had on our customers.”

An ORR report in September blasted the transport secretary, Network Rail and the DfT’s handling of the timetable debacle, claiming “no one took charge” during the chaos.

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Image credit - william87

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