Latest Rail News

23.03.17

Threefold increase to GTR complaints rate pulls up national average for Q3

Continued disruption to Southern services has led to complaints lodged against Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) rocketing by 347.1% in Q3, compared to the same period last year, the ORR has revealed.

The ‘Passenger rail service complaints statistical release 2016-17 Q3’ report found that the national complaints rate (number of complaints made per 100,000 journeys), had stabilised in Q3 compared to the previous quarter due mainly to the huge increase in complaints to London and south east TOCs – if complaints had not risen against then the rate would have continued to fall.

ORR also lodged most of the blame for this on GTR’s continuing dispute with rail union RMT – who have gone on strike for a total of 30 days over the course of the year and caused enormous disruption for passengers on Southern services. In fact, GTR were found to be accountable for 19% of all complaints made nationally in Q3.

The majority of complaints that were submitted by passengers formally in Q3 came under the category of punctuality/reliability at 28.5%.

It was also found that complaints concerning fares and retailing had been increasing, as the area of complaints covered by ‘Ticket buying facilities – other’, which mainly involved complaints about the ticket buying process, came in as the second most complained about topic, at 8.1% of complaints, a 4.7 percentage point increase on the year previously.

Other companies who fared badly included South West Trains, as its complaints rate came in at 23.7 per 100,000 journeys – a 71.5% increase compared to Q3 last year, with 43% of these complaints being made about punctuality/reliability.

There were also worrying figures raised about the speed that operators responded to customer complaints (most of which were made by email), as only 11 out of 21 train operating answered 95% or more of complaints within 20 working days.

Nationally, 87.2% of complaints were closed within 20 working days – a 1.9 percentage point drop from Q3 last year. Great Western Railway were bottom of the table for response speed, as less than half (49.6%) of complaints were replied to within 20 days.

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