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London passengers happier than before, but green shoots still ‘fragile’

Rail passengers in London and the south east are more satisfied with their service in 2017 than they were last year, it has been revealed.

This is despite the fact that the area has been hit by endless strikes and disruption on Southern services due to a disagreement between the operator and unions RMT and Aslef.

In London and the south east, the latest National Rail Passenger Survey, regularly conducted by passenger watchdog Transport Focus, found that satisfaction went up by three percentage points from 79% to 82%. Overall satisfaction nationally also increased by three percentage points over the past year, up to 83%.

National satisfaction on punctuality also saw a significant rise, up by four percentage points from 73% up to 77%. Passengers also reported being happier with toilet provision on long journeys and the seating in stations.

In terms of individual operators, no TOCs saw a significant decline in passenger satisfaction of their services since spring last year, whilst seven – Southeastern, Gatwick Express, c2c, Heathrow Connect, Heathrow Express, Greater Anglia and Hull Trains – saw a considerable satisfaction boost.

But despite this boost, the operators with the lowest scores nevertheless still included Southern (72%), Thameslink (75%), Great Northern (79%) and Southeastern (81%).

Hull Trains and Heathrow Express both topped the table for overall satisfaction, with 97% of passengers surveyed in spring claiming to be happy with their services. Grand Central (94%), Merseyrail (94%), Chiltern (92%) and Virgin Trains West Coast (92%) trailed closely behind.

“Passengers using services in London and the south east have seen an improvement with an increase in overall satisfaction from 79% last year to 82% this year,” said Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus. “The figures for Southern in particular show a significant recovery in passengers’ experience with a number of factors, including the helpfulness and availability of on-board staff and also of staff at the station. Southeastern also saw their overall satisfaction scores increase by 10%.”

However, Smith argued due to the low performance of some TOCs, there was still work to do for train companies to reach an “acceptable position” across the board.

“Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Southeastern have the lowest scores. These green shoots are fragile and need nurturing,” he concluded. “This recovery will be under pressure from upgrade works, industrial relationship problems and rising passenger numbers.

“So the industry needs to keep a relentless, ongoing focus on performance and reliability.”

Top Image: Johnny Green PA Images

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Lutz   28/07/2017 at 01:04

Standards are set too low; For a timetabled service, it would be reasonable to expect reliability of 99.9% or above at every stop along a give route.

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