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
    0

    Comment number 741.

    The biggest mistake by politicians was to privatise public interests all in the name of a quick buck. I do not doubt every utility and service would now be cheaper and better run and the profit reinvested to the people who paid for these utilities in the first instance the general public. And before investing billions on HS2 which no one will be able to afford to travel on correct the pot holes

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 740.

    #729
    Thatcher hated the unions, was democratically elected 3 times so not a dictator, and held strong free market views, so not fascist yet union haters are fascist dictators?
    The unions were hated because they led to massively inflated wages, inefficient public services, regular strikes causing blackouts, and the downfall of companies like British Leyland, which the left try to attribute to her.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 739.

    countryboy

    Rude employees would be sacked immediately? What rubbish.

    I've not only been sworn at by staff but was once threatened when I had the 'temerity' to complain about poor service. Tried to report the guy but strangely there was 'no one available' to take it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 738.

    british rail were never really given a chance because after beeching they had serpell both reports on how to cut the railways for the advantage of the road haulier and i dont know which political party they belonged to but im guessing they had shares in road building or transport companys .

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 737.

    I was censored by BBC with the argument that I broke the "House Rule of being ...abusive". How to keep the argument with abusive attitude from the Train Companies ? Who's to "censor" them ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 736.

    723.MJRPEEL - "......Anyone over the age of 45 must remember how utterly appalling British Rail was - far, far worse than anything today...."


    Worse, but not far worse - and it was massively cheaper....

    ....BR never got the chance to show what improvements they could have come up with given the extra tax payers' cash that private companies have been given......

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 735.

    The title article reads - "Many rail passengers 'dissatisfied'."

    Shouldnt that read - "ALL rail passengers dissatisfied!"

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 734.

    Passenger Focus take note.....

    The comments here do not reflect an 85% satisfaction rate.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 733.

    part of the problem is how the franchising system works, and with the fiasco over the west coast mainline i wouldnt be surprised if the existing franchises are just as flawed. FIRST seems to own the vast majority and it just gets worse every day. My operator First Crapital Chaos will have to give them credit they invent a new excuse every day the latest one was "lack of cohesion" classic.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 732.

    Trains in south Wales are flawed. Firstly ticket pricing is high and illogical. A day return from AGV to CDF costs £1 more than a single (at £12.10) yet if you wanted to return the other side of midnight it would cost you 22.90. No difference in price for booking advanced or offpeak. At 30 miles door to door each way its cheaper to drive. Any wonder why the m4 is the uks' biggest car park?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 731.

    #85
    The world's first railway was privately owned and funded and ran perfectly well. The problem now is that we select a monopoly to run the railways, which are still publicly owed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 730.

    727.T8-eh-T8
    But what we actually have is state funded capitalism, whereby the gov. takes our money and gives it to private business. A bit like China, we have a private business elite which profits from the public purse.
    ---
    And that subsidy is being reduced (which is what's pushing the prices up for the passenger) so you're complaining that prices aren't going up fast enough?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 729.

    #723 MJRPEEL

    i used to work on the railway when it was british rail and can assure you that if anyone told a member of the public to eff off they would be instantly dismissed . Trains are late everyday whoever is running them unless they are run by facist dictators and given your anti union views that must be what you prefer .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 728.

    "dissatisfied" .... no shit sherlock

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 727.

    Other countries have a state funded railway. It is deemed essential to the commercial/industrial needs of the country.

    We have a political aspiration to have a non-funded railway. But what we actually have is state funded capitalism, whereby the gov. takes our money and gives it to private business. A bit like China, we have a private business elite which profits from the public purse.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 726.

    710 & 719 on privatisation.

    Both your posting hold truth!

    Private money built most of the railways and privatisation can work.

    However, the current privatisation model through franchising with a split between infrastructure and multiple operators remains fundamentally flawed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 725.

    717. Wallhart

    yeah, but private compaines dont make huge profits from most of the things mentioned. What i object to is privatisation which is still tax payer funded. We dont subsidise electric compaines, gas companies, BT so why the railways. I dont use gas, but i also dont pay towards someone elses use of gas. I dont use M6 toll, but i dont pay towards someone else using it either

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 724.

    The railways should never have been privatised by the Cons. The railway companies only care about their stockholders and not about the rail users. All the money that has been spent on the railways by the goverment over the years since privatisation and all we have ended up with is a second rate system.Shareholders are doing o/k though thanks to the hand outs by the goverment in subsidies.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 723.

    The effrontery of Bob Crow is astounding - he and his despicable union are responsible for a great deal of the travel misery evident today.

    Anyone over the age of 45 must remember how utterly appalling British Rail was - far, far worse than anything today. And, if you complained, you were most likely to be sworn at or simply told to .... off.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 722.

    The US has the worlds worst train system. You can't even take a train from Wash D.C to the International airport. It stops halfway there, so a taxi is the only lobbied alternative. Imagine Athens,London etc not connecting trains to the capital city from the main travel airport. Did I say Lobbied....surely not.

 

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