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

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 941.

    I'm currently residing in Japan which arguably has the greatest public transport system the world has to offer. All the big cities are equipped with functional and reasonably priced subways that are clean for the most part. Trains are easily my favourite mode of transport, but it pains me to see the state of the trains in the UK when I compare it to here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 940.

    All those expensive tickets for rail travel & its still subsidised by several billion a year I believe.
    Wonder how much it would go up if all subsidies were pulled ?

    How much do I get subsidied for my road travel I wonder ?
    No I pay 70% tax on my fuel & a C02 POLL TAX on mythical warming.
    But who am I too stand between a cash strapped Govt / EU and a bucket of cash

  • rate this

    Comment number 939.

    My son loves Thomas and Chuggington but I avoid taking him on the train to visit my parents in Scotland at all costs. Well, mostly because of the cost but also because there's never space for luggage and prams. Family trips by train should be easy, affordable and exciting. Someone let me know when things change-until then I'll be driving.

  • rate this

    Comment number 938.

    Most Europeans also have more completely unfair redistribution in the form of progressive tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 937.

    I felt I had to shout since my previous posts were being ignored.
    There is little competition, hardly any, but if you read my previous posts you would have seen my proposal to change this. Nationalisation would remove every last speck of competition in the system.
    And I am against all subsidies in all sectors, industry, farming, banking, transport.
    I never said the current system is good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 936.

    The problems with rail travel in the UK stem from decades of under investment by successive governments, who are always being reluctant to invest taxpayers money in anything that may result in higher taxes. It's always the same story, 'Do more with less'.
    European rail is sometimes better but most Europeans pay higher income tax, but then again its just the same in rush hour where ever you are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 935.

    If Virgin is the most popular rail company, then the others must be dreadful beyond belief. The Pendolinos are arguably the worst trains in operation in the UK, with so many seats having no view at all, to say nothing of the all-pervading toilet smell."

    And don't forget the totally inadequate provision for luggage. Most suitcases won't fit on the tiny racks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 934.

    Bob Roberts


    You don't need to shout. Do you use the trains? There is NO COMPETITION (see, I can do it too) only localised monopolies. If I don't like Virgin's Wigan to Euston train, I have the 'choice' of no other train operator.

    Taxpayer subsidy to TOCs is vastly higher than to BR.

  • rate this

    Comment number 933.

    Can we stop with the complaints about dirty trains, please? The dirt and litter is put there by YOU LOT, the passengers! The railway operators, surprisingly, do not pay people to put dirt in the trains.

    Take your litter away with you, keep your feet off the seats. It's simple enough. Why should people have to be employed to clear up after dirty, scruffy, thoughtless passengers?

    Same with buses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 932.

    Great idea, rather than businessmen running them we can have politicians!!
    What is needed is for slots on the lines to be sold to companies to operate the trains at 5 minute intervals, with penalties for missing them. Therefore, if you don't like the service with Company A, you can by a ticket with Company B 5 mins later. This is real competition, and will force standards to improve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 931.

    This is what happens when inexperienced, unqualified "little boys" decide that they "want to play trains" and are allowed to do just that. Nationalize the railways again and stop this nonsense. An airline (Virgin) running a raliway? A bus company (Stagecoach) running a raliway? What's next. A canal boat hire company running a railway?

  • rate this

    Comment number 930.

    I use the trains mainly for leisure travel. However they have definitely gotten worse now I in an area with a FGW monopoly. Oh for the days of SWT and their RAILCARDS giving 1/3 off. No need to book months in advance to get a ticket to London like on FGW. What's more SWT has nicer trains. Occasionally they lend one to FGW when their decrepid cattle wagon conks out. Shear bliss when it happens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 929.

    The only one that should be re-nationalised is water, since there is no opportunity for competition there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 928.

    I frequently use First Crapital Connect between Mill Hill Broadway and Brighton, and chances are one of my trains is either extremely late or cancelled. FCC are also notorious for their poor rolling stock and overcrowded trains. London - Brighton is also one of the only routes with some sembelance of competition; so the fact that even on this route the trains are poor says a lot about the system!

  • rate this

    Comment number 927.

    I notice several comments relating to Southeastern and Southern talk specifically about London Bridge. This isn't a problem with the TOCs, this is a problem with London Bridge's terrible infrastructure. There are too many trains and not enough platforms to cope with the traffic. It's the same reason why FCC is diverted away at peak times. Blame Network Rail for not fixing the problem sooner.

  • 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 925.

    Let's face it,privatising our utility and rail services has been a total disaster.
    IMHO people who travel to work and pay their taxes etc should be subsidised on their travel to work.
    Why should such a huge wedge of a working persons income go on just getting to work anyway?

  • rate this

    Comment number 924.

    Deal with it. It ain't gonna get any better anytime soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 923.

    @920 This is the problem, our checks and balances are to Fine the company for failing in some areas but ultimately we are just paying for this twice, 1st the Government subsidy and then the rise in fares that will cover the fines. Its not competition its a bunch of micro monopolies that hold sway over some track mileage and cannot fail to make money irrespective of performance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 922.

    916. neill17
    My unsubsidised annual ticket (FCC) works out at €0.14/km German railways subsidy is on average €0.10/km. Probably has more to do with it than Private/Public ownership


Page 1 of 48


More UK stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.