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‘Much more to do’ as only a third of commuters happy with rail value for money

Less than half of total passengers travelling on the railway feel services offer value for money, while this number drops to just a third for commuters.

The news comes from the release of today’s National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), which also shows that most travellers (81%) are satisfied with the quality of their journey, despite complaining about the value on offer.

Overall happiness with punctuality has risen to around 74% of all passengers, although commuters rated it significantly lower at 65%.

The survey, carried out by Transport Focus, interviewed 27,000 people rating the quality of operators in 30 specific aspects of service.

The organisation argued low value for money scores are reflective of poor reliability on services and a lack of “day-to-day performance” by both operators and Network Rail.

Meanwhile, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents TOCs, has said there is still “much more to do” to bring the railway up to scratch.

In terms of specific operators, the survey signals out the poor performance of Southern, TfL Rail and South Western Railway, which all scored 75% or below in the overall service ratings.

GTR, which operates both Southern and Thameslink services has apologised for the poor performance of some of its services but said there was a pattern of improvement.

“More passengers than ever before are saying they are satisfied with our Thameslink service thanks to the hard work our staff, new spacious trains, and our focus on punctuality and customer service. On Southern, after last year’s intense period of industrial action, our services are beginning to recover with satisfaction for punctuality up 13 percentage points. We are determined to build on that,” said GTR’s chief operating officer Nick Brown.

“This May, we’ll be improving the service further through our RailPlan 20/20 modernisation programme. We’ll have longer trains on Thameslink and a brand-new timetable in May will make Southern more reliable and add another 80 stations to the cross-London Thameslink route, creating capacity for up to 40,000 extra passengers into London.”

In comparison, Grand Central, Hull Trains and Virgin East Coast topped the list, with scores hitting 92% or above.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the RDG, commented: “Four out of five journeys were rated satisfactory or good by our customers but we know there is much more to do, which is why rail companies are working together with a long-term plan to change and improve.”

Starr pointed to the introduction of around 7,000 new carriages expected by 2021 as evidence that operators are committed to improvement.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said the results highlighted important complaints from passengers.

“For passengers, it’s all about performance – these value for money scores reflect patchy reliability,” he explained.

“In London and the south east, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern passengers have felt performance pick up. However, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales passengers, among others, have been buffeted by poorer performance.

“Train companies and Network Rail need to keep to their basic promises and deliver a relentless focus on day-to-day performance and better information during disruption.”

Last year’s survey presented the same overall satisfaction results of 81%, with Southern also bottom of the ratings – although with a lower score than this year.

The full report is available to view here.

Top image: Southern

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Paul   30/01/2018 at 18:55

More bunkum from Starr, atypical of the spin and fluff we get constantly fed these days! The Rail Companies are NOT working together, not beyond the barest minimum as forced by Political Masters. They are Competitors in a Commercial framework, who's first duty is to protect shareholders and Parent Companies. If they were so concerned about Passengers, sorry Customers Journey Experience they would spend a bit more time on issues like comfort, quality, inter-connectivity and value for money.

George   31/01/2018 at 17:41

Spot on Paul..........

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