Greater Anglian and Southeastern worst for rail satisfaction – with fares and delays to blame
There is widespread dissatisfaction among rail users in the UK, with 11 of 19 rail operators scoring less than 50% for satisfaction in a survey by consumer group Which?
Delayed services, a lack of seats and poor toilet conditions are said to be some of the main concerns of regular travellers. These complaints come despite fare increases of 2.8% being introduced last month.
The poorest performing operators were said to be Greater Anglian and Southeastern, which scored just 40% for customer satisfaction. In contrast, Mersey Rail scored a “record” 70%, becoming the first rail operator to be recommended by Which?
Around one in 10 passengers (11%) said they had cause for complaint on their most recent journey, but three-quarters of those did not complain. Of those who did complain, more than half (55%) were dissatisfied with the way their complaint was handled.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said, “It’s disappointing to see some train companies consistently falling down on the basics of customer service, with dirty and overcrowded carriages and toilets that don’t work.
“Seven rail franchises end in the next two years and we want to see passengers’ experiences put right at the heart of the tender process so companies respond to consumer expectations and can be held to account if they don’t.”
Eight in 10 respondents also said they felt that ticket prices were too high, although half said they would not mind paying more were services to be improved.
Last year was the tenth successive year that rail fares had increased, with the UK now operating one of the most expensive rail systems in Europe.
In August, demonstrators across the UK took to stations to protest above inflation price increases in fares.
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said, “It’s no surprise that eight in 10 commuters think fares are too high, when season tickets have gone up by 20% under this government.
“Fare rises are costing hard-working commuters hundreds of pounds, contributing to Cameron’s cost of living crisis”.
She added, “David Cameron is still failing to stand up for working people, allowing train companies to hit passengers with inflation-busting fare rises of up to 9% a year.”
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