Mixed news for train firms in new customer survey
Southeastern passengers happier than a year ago
Kent rail passengers have signalled Southeastern services are getting better, but there is less good news for strike-hit operator Southern.
According to the latest survey by passenger watchdog Transport Focus, satisfaction ratings for Southern were the worst of all operators.
Services run by the company have been blighted by a long-running dispute over the introduction of driver-only trains, and the frustration felt by rail users over strikes and delays has resulted in an overall satisfaction rating of 72%.
While Southern – which runs services in Ashford to Brighton and others in west Kent – emerged as the worst in the country, there was better news for Southeastern.
The operator saw its overall satisfaction rating at 81% – a 10% increase since a similar survey in spring 2016.
However, the cost of travel on Southeastern remains an issue. While 38% of those surveyed said they were satisfied – up 6% – 40% said they were not happy with ticket prices.
On punctuality, Southeastern saw its rating rise by 14% to 72%, while Southern saw a 5% improvement but to just 57%.
On over-crowded trains, 69% of users of Southeastern services said they were satisfied with the capacity of trains. For Southern, the figure was 67%.
On dealing with delays, Southeastern’s rating was unchanged, with 36% saying they were satisfied, compared with 28% for Southern.
Transport Focus said passengers in London and the South East were overall more satisfied with their railway journeys after a long period of patchy performance.
For London and South East operators, 82 % of passengers were very or fairly satisfied overall, compared with 79% in spring 2016. Andrew Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “These green shoots are fragile and need nurturing.
“This recovery will be under pressure from upgrade works, industrial relationship problems and rising passenger numbers.
“So the industry needs to keep a relentless, ongoing focus on performance and reliability.”
Rail passenger satisfaction has been revealed in the survey