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Rail passenger satisfaction lowest for 10 years amid delays, strikes and timetable chaos

Passenger satisfaction with the UK’s railway services has fallen to a 10-year low with more than one in five passengers dissatisfied, according to the independent watchdog Transport Focus.

In the latest National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), overall satisfaction with rail services last year was 79% - the lowest since 2008.

The passenger watchdog said people were unhappy with worsening punctuality, the timetable chaos experienced during the summer and frequent strike action.

Compared with autumn 2017, seven operators “significantly declined” in customer satisfaction; Northern, TransPennine Express, Greater Anglia, Thameslink, ScotRail, London North Eastern Railway, and Great Northern, which had the lowest rating at 68%.

Two out of the 25 train operating companies (TOCs) “significantly improved” compared to last year with Chiltern Railways performing well and Heathrow Express scoring the highest rating at 96%.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “Our latest survey confirms passenger satisfaction has fallen to a 10-year low.

“Government and the industry must continue to focus on performance. In the longer term the government’s Rail Review must bring about fundamental change.

“Passenger irritation at poor performance erodes their most basic trust in the industry. Passenger frustration at continual fare increases saps confidence in the system to reform itself. Passenger anger during the summer timetable crisis was palpable.

“A better value for money and more reliable railway must arrive soon for passengers.”

Passenger satisfaction with how train operators dealt with delays sat at 37%, but there was a wide array of results from individual operators with Southern and Thameslink given a 29% satisfaction rate and Grand Central scoring 77%.

Nationally, the percentage of passengers satisfied with punctuality and reliability was 71%, a 3% decrease from 2007, and down from the 81% recorded in 2008.

Nationally, 46% of rail journeys were rated by passengers as satisfactory value for money based on the price of their ticket, with commuters rating just 31% of their journeys as good value.

Jacqueline Starr of the Rail Delivery Group commented: "Punctuality is the bedrock of satisfaction for our customers and at the moment in too many places, we are not getting it right.”

Image credit - william87


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