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‘Disappointing’ results from passenger survey

More than half of train operating companies in the UK have overall satisfaction scores lower than 50%, a new survey by Which? shows.

The research highlighted frequent delays, overcrowding and poor cleanliness as points of complaint.

The TOCs with the lowest results were Greater Anglia and Southeastern, both receiving an overall score of 40%. First Capital Connect scored 41%. The operator with the highest result was Merseyrail with a customer score of 70%.

The survey covered over 7,400 regular train passengers and found that one in ten said they had reason to complain about their last journey. While three quarters didn’t submit a formal complaint, of those who did, 55% said they were unhappy with the way their concerns had been addressed.

Almost one in five had experienced a delay on their most recent journey and one in five commuters said they were likely to have stood through their journey. Which? found that 60% of passengers wanted lower fares, with 35% calling for more carriages at peak times.

However, 53% said they don’t mind paying more if they see an improvement in services – 49% said they would pay more for a more reliable service, and 48% say they would pay more to guarantee a seat.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: “It’s disappointing to see some train companies consistently falling down on the basics of consumer service, with dirty and overcrowded carriages and toilets that don’t work.

“Seven rail franchises end in the next two years and we want to see passenger’s experiences put right at the heart of the tender process so companies respond to consumer expectations and can be held to account if they don’t.”

A First Capital Connect spokesman said: “We are disappointed, especially after the far larger National Passenger Survey showed overall satisfaction scores of 79%, but we listen to all feedback and are taking steps to deliver what passengers want.”

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “As we acknowledged last month when the independent watchdog’s far more comprehensive survey found that more than four out of five passengers were satisfied with their overall journey, the industry needs to build on the improvements it has delivered over the last 15 years.

“We are always keen to get feedback from customers, whether good or bad, which has helped the industry attract record numbers of passengers and cut complaints by three quarters in a decade.”

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