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
    +1

    Comment number 721.

    "Rail passengers 'dissatisfied'" No s!!t Sherlock.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 720.

    I was waiting for 8:03 train from Farnborough to Basingstoke it turn up at 9:26 mean i would have got into Basingstoke at 9:47.

    Lucky I had options to get a refund on my ticket today and get a lift from my beautiful boyfriend.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 719.

    710.Davros
    Privatisation of railways.

    The worst idea, Ever.
    ------
    Err.. who do you think actually built the original rail system?
    It certainly wasn't British Rail!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 718.

    Imagine if our £50m a day fund to the EU were instead used to finance something like improved services to our rail. It's too sensible a suggestion for it to ever happen.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 717.

    Pique,

    Yes you did. Roads you use, nhs, education etc. Everything is subsidised by taxpayers. Just because you don't use it doesn't mean they shouldn'texist. I agree that in a perfect world the trains would be self sufficient and cost effective. The whole thing a disaster and I don't see how it will ever change. Why do other countries do it better? Simple question that is never answered!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 716.

    honestly i dont mind subsidising the railways as they are there if i need them . but i do mind subsidising a private for profit organisation like a train operating company . re-nationalise them please but it will not happen as there are too many fingers in the pie now .

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 715.

    Passenger Focus reports 85% satisfaction. Passenger Focus is Government funded. Spot the connection :-(

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 714.

    The problem is not that they are privatised, but in the way they were privatised. Rather than the government selecting a new monopoly every 5 or so years, they should allow companies to bid for a specific slot on the line. They should give all companies a 5 minute window to arrive at each station at a specific time, then threaten them with hefty fines for lateness, poor service etc.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 713.

    Nothing will change, my fares will still go up 10%+ per year and the service will AT BEST be the same as it always was. When on the few occasions I wrote to the rail company (Southeastern) I get a stock message saying that the government wants to reduce subsidies so we have to pass the cost on... useless.

    More companies should promote working from home so users can no longer be held to ransom.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 712.

    709. Wallhart

    Government should take ALL funding away. They are private companies.

    sick to death of government subsidies for this that and the other. I didnt get subsidies when self employed, lots of other businesses dont get guaranteed handouts. Let them have a viable business model, if they dont, they can get out of the market and do something else.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 711.

    Yet another fainter this morning from overcrowding and lack of air from Orpington to Cannon Street, third one in two weeks - SouthEastern cut a vital service to London Bridge now its a bun fight to get on, when I wrote to them they said they were offering better services to those further afield, instead us that live closer suffer

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 710.

    Privatisation of railways.

    The worst idea, Ever.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 709.

    What no one has mentioned is how the private rail companies take all the flack while the government is quietly taking funding away.

    The whole thing is a mess.

  • Comment number 708.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 707.

    Commuting from Surbiton to London,I would say there is an issue with Southwest Trains 50% of the time.From 7.57 cancelled today,to an hr journey last Thursday (norm 17m) to one of the worst 3 Fridays ago taking 1.5 hr with no explanation and no option to get off and find other ways.Whats the message?That I should move?£2.5k a year & I get treated worse than a cow(if there is a truck I can get on)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 706.

    I commented on the previous story about the 85% satisfaction rate. Not on my daily commute from Kemble...far from it! Our service is poor, dirty and over-crowded.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 705.

    Couple of yrs ago i used to go down south every other friday.
    Change at watford to get to st albans abbey. Time for the change was 9 minutes, with no train to st albans for an hour if missed it.
    Every time, the train would be 8-12 mins late, with no warning, reason or explanation, & I had to sit and wait for an hour.
    Luckily, I was priced back into my car after fare rises....!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 704.

    There will never be a customer focussed railway while private companies run it.

    They are NOT INTERESTED in customers only in profit.

    So we pay high rail fares for the worst service in the civilised world, but the government subsidises these bandits with MORE of our money.

    They're not re-investing in the network they are LYING, that is self evident to anyone who has to use the network

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 703.

    697.countryboy

    Thanks for the explanation. It sort of makes sense I suppose.

    But we are the laughing stock of Europe over our peculiar ticketting prices. Why not just make it simple? I have even heard politicos claiming that peak fares are needed to discourage over-crowding. As if we all have a choice when to pitch up at work.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 702.

    If my experience is indicative I'm surprised it's that high. A lot of the moans are from London commuters where there has been investment. Us oop North get no investment and only the rolling stock that isn't good enough for other franchises any more. Railways in private ownership doesn't work, it will never ever be a true "market" with competition driving service up and prices down.

 

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