Poor service drives commuter satisfaction down

Which?’s fifth annual rail satisfaction survey reveals commuters are still suffering the worst rail service, and operators aren’t informing passengers when they’re due compensation.

The survey of nearly 7,000 rail passengers has revealed overcrowded trains, poor value for money, dirty trains and problems with complaints handling.

A third (32%) of commuters experienced delays on their last journey, and the worst commuter services for delays were Arriva Trains Wales, Thameslink and Great Northern, First Great Western/Great Western Trains and Southern, where four in ten commuters faced delays on their last journey.

At the top of the table, Grand Central managed an overall score of 79%, achieving five stars for availability of seating, punctuality, cleanliness of trains, reliability and value for money. Hull Trains is a close runner-up with a customer score of 73%. But at the bottom of the table are Abellio Greater Anglia (47%), Thameslink and Great Northern, and Southeastern (both with 46%).

Which? launched a campaign to ‘make rail refunds easier’ in December to tackle the issues with the compensation arrangements for delayed rail passengers. A super-complaint was made to the rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), asking them to investigate and make recommendations for changes to improve the system for passengers.

Today, Which? is also submitting a dossier of passenger case studies to the ORR detailing the poor conditions faced by rail passengers and their support for our campaign. Which? will be joined by MPs at selected rail stations to promote the campaign to commuters, and give information on how to claim when delayed.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

“Our report shows that commuters are getting a raw deal from their train operator. Whether its dirty facilities on the train, overcrowding or delayed trains, it is clear operators need to up their game.

“Rail operators need to do much more to treat their customers fairly, providing better information and access to compensation when passengers are delayed. Passengers want to see action taken to make rail delay refunds easier and we have asked the regulator to investigate using our super-complaint powers.”

The campaign to Make Rail Refunds Easier is calling for train operators to do more to make rail delay refunds easier and to put passengers first. Passengers agree with us, three in 10 (28%) respondents want better information at stations, and 17% want clearer explanations on trains.

The survey also found that around one in 10 (12%) travellers felt they had reason to complain about their last journey but disappointingly, a third (35%) of those that did complain were dissatisfied with how their complaint was resolved.

Which? will be campaigning at London Liverpool Street, London Paddington, Brighton, Harlow and St Albans this week to inform passengers of their rights. For advice on how to claim a refund for a delay or cancellation, click here.

Notes to editors:

  1.  Methodology: We surveyed 6,986 UK adults – both commuters and leisure passengers – in November 2015 about their train journeys during the past 12 months. A company must have a minimum of 30 respondents to be included in our table. Customer score is based on overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend to a friend and is based on responses from both commuters and leisure passengers.
  2.    Passengers can text RAIL to 80057 to support our campaign, and we’re also encouraging those on twitter to use the hashtag #RailRefunds.
  3.    To find out more about our Make Rail Refunds Easier campaign, click here: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/train-rail-delays-refunds

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