Published on : Wednesday, January 25, 2017
As per the new figures, passenger satisfaction has fallen to 81 per cent from 83 per cent last year, which is the worst result since 2007. The verdict showed that satisfaction in terms of punctuality and reliability of services is even lower, falling by five per cent since Autumn 2015 to 73 per cent.
Passenger satisfaction is particularly low on the key commuter services in the southeast, where thousands of people depend on rail to get into London. Chief executive of Transport Focus, Anthony Smith said that the results around the country are disappointing. He continued saying that Scottish passengers and those travelling in peak hours in London and the South East are bearing the brunt of poor performance. The timetable on parts of the London and South East’s railway can be a work of fiction which passengers cannot rely on.
For London and the southeast only 80 per cent of passengers were very, or fairly satisfied overall – a fall of two per cent since Autumn 2015.
Only 77 per cent of passengers on South eastern, which serves routes from Kent and Sussex into London, are satisfied with its services overall, and just 73 per cent are satisfied with services on Thameslink, which runs from Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Sussex and Kent into the capital.
The worst level of passenger satisfaction was Southern rail operator which is as low as 65 per cent. This follows a series of crippling strikes on the network by guards and drivers protesting against the planned introduction of driver only operated trains. Over the period of dispute, more than hundreds of trains were cancelled and delayed which caused major inconvenience for passengers.
Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Network Rail must continue to collaborate to produce a more robust timetable. Passengers need a better balance between peak and off-peak services, reliability and capacity, said Mr. Smith.
More than 29,000 passengers were polled for the Transport Focus Autumn 2016 report. And, the only areas where the levels of satisfaction among passengers had risen was with facilities and services at stations, such as cafes, the availability of shelter and seating, along with toilets on trains.
The rail operators admitted their services were not as good as they should be and said new investment would deliver improvements for passengers.
Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said that the rail companies are working together to deliver more than £50 billion of improvements, including more than 5,500 new train carriages, to tackle congestion and make journeys faster, more comfortable and more reliable.