Latest Rail News

19.02.16

Customers rate Southeastern & Thameslink as ‘worst’ train companies

Southeastern and Thameslink have been ranked as the worst performing train companies for passenger satisfaction, according to new research.

The fifth annual rail satisfaction survey from consumer organisation Which? Also found that 32% of the nearly 7,000 passengers surveyed experienced delays on their last journey, with the worst companies for delays being Arriva Trains Wales, Thameslink and Great Northern, Great Western Railways and Southern.

Overall, Which? asked passengers to score train lines on eight criteria: availability of seating, availability and cleanliness of toilets, cleanliness of carriages, overall condition of train, reliability, frequency, punctuality and value for money. The lowest-rated operators were Southeastern (46%), Thameslink and Great Northern (46%) and Abellio Greater Anglia (47%). The highest ranked were Grand Central (79%), Hull Trains (73%) and Merseyrail (70%).

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Our report shows that commuters are getting a raw deal from their train operator. Whether its dirty facilities on the train, overcrowding or delayed trains, it is clear operators need to up their game.

“Rail operators need to do much more to treat their customers fairly, providing better information and access to compensation when passengers are delayed. Passengers want to see action taken to make rail delay refunds easier and we have asked the regulator to investigate using our super-complaint powers.”

A Southeastern spokesman said: “While the Which? report questioned fewer passengers than the recent National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) – which shows our overall customer satisfaction rate at 75% - both clearly indicate we have much more to do.

“We’re part way through a £70m investment programme, refurbishing our trains and stations, providing more front line employees for passengers, improving customer service training and providing more real time information during journeys.

“The NRPS survey showed passengers have noticed, as satisfaction in these areas has risen, but punctuality is the key driver of satisfaction for most. Along with Network Rail who look after railway infrastructure such as track and signalling, we’re working hard to improve punctuality and minimise delays.

“In regards to compensation, we actively promote the Delay Repay scheme online, by social media such as Twitter, in media announcements and on station posters. This pays compensation to anyone whose journey was delayed by 30 minutes or more. This is set as part of our franchise agreement with the Department for Transport.”

The Which? survey results are similar to last year’s, although Abellio Greater Anglia replaced Southern in the bottom three.

However Go-Ahead Group, the owner of Thameslink & Great Northern, Southern and Southeastern, experienced a £200m jump in profit in the past year despite the consistent criticism.

Virgin Trains, which recently won the service innovation award at the UK Rail Industry Awards 2016 for their automatic delay repay scheme, were the highest-ranked long distance operator. It achieved  scores of 69% for Virgin Trains West Coast and 61% for Virgin Trains East Coast.

Patrick McCall, co-chairman of Virgin Trains, said: “We'll continue to build on these results with all the exciting initiatives we have this year. We have pioneered Automatic Delay Repay on the West Coast and we are rolling out a £40 million revamp of our trains on the East Coast as well as introducing additional services between Edinburgh and London."

Make Rail Refunds Easier

Back in December, Which? made a super-complaint to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) calling for an investigation into rail delay refunds as part of its Make Rail Refunds Easier campaign, which was launched after the organisation’s research found that one-third of passengers eligible for compensation make a claim.

Which? is now supporting the campaign by presenting a dossier of passenger case studies to the ORR and appearing at London Liverpool Street, London Paddington, Brighton, Harlow and St Albans stations this week with MPs.

This week ORR crossed the halfway mark in assessing the super-complaint.

Stephanie Tobyn, ORR’s deputy director for consumers, said: “As well as considering the helpful research Which? submitted when it lodged its super-complaint, we are forming an unbiased and independent view on the issues raised on the experiences of rail passengers claiming compensation.”

She said a team from regulatory disciplines including competition, consumer law and train licencing are looking at the issue on ORR’s behalf and have met with representatives from more than 20 train operating companies and collecting information on passenger experience.

“ORR is interested in what is really going on at train stations across the country; what kind of information is available to passengers, how easy do they find it to make a claim for compensation, and what potentially stands in their way”, she added.

The ORR will respond to the complaint on 18 March, with actions which could include recommending that the quality and accessibility of information for consumers is improved, encouraging businesses in the market to self-regulate and promote good practice, making recommendations to government to change the legislation or public policy, taking competition or consumer enforcement action or giving a clean bill of health.

(Image c. Hrachik)

Comments

Andrew G   19/02/2016 at 11:55

I still think that Abellio Greater Anglia are the worst rail company because with so many delays are happening in resent weeks is making passengers angry. Plus the Class 321 trains are getting the refurbishment with the lifespan of 10-12 years in service for and Class 317's are also getting refurbished with a lifespan of 10 years.

Jack   04/03/2016 at 14:43

Could be worse could have abelio running Thameslink or TFL always late running.people don't realise with rising prices of materials the rail fares must rise to compensate for it . Are commuters not aware how NR is trying to carry out improvement works. To get total satisfaction every trip stations may aswell be shut until work has finished

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >