Mixed news for train firms in new cus­tomer sur­vey

South­east­ern pas­sen­gers hap­pier than a year ago

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS - By Paul Fran­cis Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor pfran­cis@thek­m­group.co.uk @PaulOnPol­i­tics

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

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