Rail passenger satisfaction sinks to 10-year low

Passenger satisfaction with rail services has fallen to a 10-year low.

The latest Transport Focus survey of more than 25,000 passengers found that overall satisfaction was 79%.

This is the lowest level since 2008.

The National Rail Passenger Survey was conducted between September 1 and November 16 last year.

Transport Focus blamed worsening punctuality, the timetable chaos of last summer and continued disruption due to strikes for causing passengers to be frustrated with the railways.

Comparing the percentage of journeys that passengers rated as satisfactory with the same measure in autumn 2017, Heathrow Express and Chiltern Railways were the only two out of 25 train companies to have significantly improved.

Over the same period, seven operators recorded a significant decline in satisfaction. They were Great Northern, Northern, TransPennine Express, Greater Anglia, Thameslink, ScotRail and London North Eastern Railway.

The highest rating was achieved by Heathrow Express at 96%, while the lowest was recorded by Great Northern at 68%.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Government and the industry must continue to focus on performance.

“In the longer term the Government’s Rail Review must bring about fundamental change.

“Passenger irritation at poor performance erodes their most basic trust in the industry.”

He added: “A better value for money and more reliable railway must arrive soon for passengers.”

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Punctuality is the bedrock of satisfaction for our customers and at the moment in too many places, we are not getting it right.

“Working together, we are investing billions of pounds in a long-term plan to rebuild key parts of the network to improve punctuality while putting thousands of new and refurbished carriages on track to make journeys more comfortable.

“In parallel we are pushing for more fundamental reform to fix the railway for the future, including developing proposals for regulatory change to make the fares system easier, and engaging fully with the Government’s independent review of how the whole railway is bolted together.”

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