Customer satisfaction with rail journeys has fallen, survey reveals

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28th January 2015 11:02 - Transport and Distribution

A recent survey, conducted by the watchdog, Passenger Focus, has found a 2 per cent fall in railway passenger satisfaction since the previousCustomer satisfaction with rail journeys has fallen, survey reveals survey in 2013.

The survey questioned 27,000 individuals in the period between September to November 2014.  The Christmas period was excluded, thereby avoiding the serious delays into London’s King’s Cross station during the festivities.

The respondents answered questions on reliability, customer service and ticket prices.

It was found that, although satisfaction levels fell in 2014, rail operators have said that they promise to take measures to ensure that they increase again.

Satisfaction ratings across the different operators varied from 74 per cent to 94 per cent.

When looking at who performed best, Heathrow Express and Grand Central scored the highest with 94 per cent each, closely followed by Chiltern with 93 per cent.

On the other hand, Southeastern scored the lowest with 74 per cent, an 11 per cent decrease since 2013.  Ranking slightly higher than Southeastern with 77 per cent was Govia Thameslink.  Govia Thameslink’s score was a 2 per cent decrease since the previous survey, in 2013.

Also scoring 77 per cent was Southern. However, Southern’s score was a 1 per cent increase on the Passenger Focus survey of 2013.

The survey highlighted that punctuality and reliability has become worse since 2013, as the score fell from 79 per cent in 2013 to 77 per cent this year.

However, areas which improved, according to the survey, was: retail within stations, eating and drinking facilities and other services, within the train stations.

Although an overall fall of 2 per cent in satisfaction levels may not seem significant, these findings must serve as a warning for rail operators, National Rail and the government, that should they not take action to improve the experience of passengers, rail operators may face a negative sentiment towards their company.

Despite the Government increasing train fares in order to invest billions of pounds into train lines, the annual findings of the Passenger Focus survey seem to point to a collective feeling that the extra spend of passengers is not contributing to an improved service.

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