Rail passenger satisfaction down, survey suggests

Passengers on busy train Image copyright PA
Image caption Fewer than half of passengers surveyed thought tickets were value for money

Satisfaction amongst rail passengers has dipped, with those in London and south east England the least content, according to research.

The proportion of passengers happy with their journeys fell from 82% in spring 2014 to 80% in spring 2015, a Transport Focus survey suggested.

Some 96% on First Hull Trains were satisfied - the highest in the country.

By contrast, satisfaction was just 72% on Southern and 74% on Govia Thameslink.

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: "Too often many passengers are not getting the service they deserve, and for this we are sorry.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Satisfaction on Southern trains fell

"More than almost anything else passengers want trains to be reliable and run on time. After years of improvement overall satisfaction has fallen, largely due to delays in London and the south east and how we deal with those delays."

Transport Focus, formerly known as Passenger Focus, spoke to 31,000 rail travellers.

It found below average satisfaction on services run by:

  • Abellio Greater Anglia - 75%
  • Southeastern - 75%
  • Northern Rail 79%

Services with higher satisfaction included:

  • Heathrow Express 94%
  • East Coast 94%
  • Grand Central 94%
  • Merseyrail 91%

Satisfaction for operators in London and the south east of England dipped from 80% in spring 2014 to 78% in spring 2015.

The biggest decline on these routes was a 5% dip in passengers who felt train companies dealt well with delays.

And just 45% of rail passengers across the survey thought the price of their ticket represented value for money - similar to the figure for the previous year.

'Minimise impact'

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "Commuters will not be surprised at these results. Long-term plans and investment are important and welcome - how the work is carried out, though, is crucial.

"The London Bridge rebuilding scheme in particular has caused problems. We're now working with train companies and Network Rail to try and minimise the impact on commuters."

Office of Rail and Road chief executive Richard Price said there had been "marked improvement in passenger satisfaction" in the past decade.

He added: "In the past year, however, we've seen overall scores dip significantly. Passengers are telling us that reliability and punctuality of trains remains their primary concern."

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