The first ever Which? satisfaction survey of train companies has found low levels of customer satisfaction with commuters feeling let down by delays and overcrowding.
The Which? survey of all the major train operating companies found the overall customer score across all types of journey low at just 48%. Commuter journeys scored the lowest, with an overall customer score of 44%. Journeys taken for leisure faired slightly better with an overall score of 53%.
There was a wide-range of scores across the train companies. Virgin Trains came out on top with a customer score of 64%. Bottom of the table was Southeastern, scoring just 40%. Overcrowding and high fares were cited as key issues along with delays and cuts to services. Commuter company, c2c, received a customer score of 61% from its passengers proving that although commuter services have a tough job transporting high numbers of passengers at peak times, it is still possible to deliver a good service.
Which? also found that 20% of all rail journeys taken gave cause for complaint but only 8% of customers who had reason to complain actually did. 50% of people who did complain were unhappy with how the complaint was handled.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, says:
“We don’t have a choice of train company for most services, so it is infuriating when they let us down.
“With many of the rail contracts coming up for renewal over the coming year, the government and train companies must commit to improving passenger services across the board. While we found some encouraging examples of train operators getting it right, many have to work harder to ensure people get a good service and value for money.
“We also want to see improvements across the sector for passengers, from more information on their entitlements and what to do when things go wrong to greater transparency and simplicity on fares.”
Notes to Editor
This is the first ever Which? satisfaction survey of UK train operators.
Which? surveyed 4,092 UK adults online in December 2011 and January 2012 (avoiding Christmas and New Year). Participants were asked to tell us about up to three journeys with different train companies that they had taken in the past year.
We are reporting on 5,542 leisure and commuter journeys.
Results have been weighted to reflect the market share and profile of leisure and commuter passengers of each train company.
Each company has been given an overall customer score based on leisure and commuter passenger responses.
To compare like-with-like train companies as much as possible, we broke data into three different sections: commuter, long-distance and regional. In addition, companies have been given a customer score for commuter or leisure journeys based on whether they’re predominantly a leisure or commuter operator. The tables only show the key aspects of each type of service.
Trains in Northern Ireland are part of a different regulatory regime and cannot be compared against the other train companies in our survey.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with views on your rail experience. These will be collated and sent to government and train companies to help to improve standards.