Half of rail firms have low satisfaction levels, survey finds

Passengers waiting for a train Which? said many passengers were fed up with trains being late, overcrowded or dirty

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More than half of train companies have a customer satisfaction score of 50% or lower, a survey by the consumer group Which? has found.

Only 22% of the 7,500 rail users in the survey felt their service was improving - despite big fare rises last month.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said this was disappointing as most travellers could not "shop around".

However, last month a larger survey suggested the number of satisfied rail passengers was at a record high of 85%.

The National Passenger Survey by Passenger Focus asked 31,626 travellers, while the Which? survey was compiled from responses from 7,500 regular rail users.

The most popular rail company, according to the Which? survey, was Virgin Trains (67% satisfaction) which almost lost its West Coast main line franchise in October.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "While taxpayers continue to fund the rail industry to the tune of £3.5bn every year, rail companies must do better and the government needs to hold them to account on behalf of passengers and taxpayers."

'Basket cases'

Start Quote

With 1.5 billion train journeys made every year and eight of the 17 UK rail franchises up for grabs in the next two years, customer service should be top of the agenda for every train operating company”

End Quote Richard Lloyd Which?

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "It is about time these basket case private train companies were booted off Britain's railways for good and their franchises returned to public ownership."

But a spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "The independent watchdog Passenger Focus surveys up to eight times as many people a year and last month reported 85% of passengers are satisfied with their service - a record high."

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "With 1.5 billion train journeys made every year and eight of the 17 UK rail franchises up for grabs in the next two years, customer service should be top of the agenda for every train operating company.

"Passengers tell us they are fed up with trains that are delayed, overcrowded and dirty. This is especially disappointing as many commuters can't shop around or change the company they travel with," he added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 926.

    Problem with trains and delays is the fact that they are literally on rails. If something happens further up the track, they can't divert around it without throwing the entire network into chaos.

    One time there was a fatality on a train line, people around were complaining about late trains etc because of this. No thought they spared for the poor driver of the train caught up in that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 894.

    The railway system typifies what is wrong with this country.
    High fares, poor service, privatised but still subsidised, fat cats with fatter bonuses and rather than spend profits on investment they prefer to raise prices to "improve our services" but manifestly fail to do so.
    Nationalise them then run them to make enough money for re-investment not shareholders and board chairmen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 853.

    On paper I love trains. Safer than driving, takes you to the centre of town, less stressful than driving and lets you see the country.

    But in real life the crowded, airless carriages combined with high prices and general slowness means I avoid them whenever possible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 762.

    Dissatisfied ? more like down right furious. I recently had to travel into London for a week on the Waterloo line. I was shocked to find that at peak times it was as crowded as the Tube.. people squashed whilst standing!? If i had to travel to London everyday using trains I'd be suicidal within 6 months. a ridiculous state of affairs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 693.

    In Germany for less than £4,500 you can get a first class unlimited rail card for ALL German train services for year - in England you get a standard season ticket from Luton to St Pancras for the same amount.

    That's what's wrong with out railways - ridiculous fares.


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