Southern Rail among worst ranked for customer satisfaction

Train operator Southern Rail was among the worst ranked for customer satisfaction, a survey has revealed.

The company, which runs trains across the Herald and Gazette patch, saw only 77 per cent of passengers say they were satisfied with the service,

Govia Thameslink also got 77 per cent, and Southeastern, which runs some services in the area got only 74 per cent customer satisfaction.

Railway watchdog Passenger Focus unveiled the figures today (January 27), and has called for the industry and government to let passengers have more of a say in decision-making, including how to get more trains in on time.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Passenger Focus, said, “Rail passengers’ satisfaction is driven by getting trains on time. Many are being let down - fare increases, billions in government investment and promises of improvement don’t seem to be delivering change on the ground.

“The high profile disruption after Christmas and at London Bridge will only have added to the gloom.”

The National Rail Passenger Survey asked more than 27,000 passengers what they thought of their most recent journey.

The results found Southern Rail was among the three companies with the lowest score for customer satisfaction.

The highest-scoring operators were Heathrow Express and Grand Central, both with 94 per cent satisfaction.

Mr Smith said, “Passengers do not care who is to blame for things going wrong and for some of them the timetable is a work of fiction. If it really is the case that better day-to-day performance can’t be achieved, then an honest, open debate is now needed so that passengers might be able to trust the promises made by the industry again.”

Southern Rail deputy managing director David Scorey said, “Whilst it is encouraging that we scored better overall this year over last, we are still a long way off where we would like to be.

“Clearly poor performance links heavily with overall satisfaction and that has produced a mediocre score.

“Unfortunately, the challenging constraints at London Bridge have played a major part in the challenge to deliver good performance but we are determined to do everything we can to improve our day to day punctuality. Together with Network Rail we are working on an enhanced improvement plan to drive performance up.

“On the bright side, there are some very encouraging scores in some of the key areas where we have been focussing our efforts to improve, such as better station facilities, improved on-train toilet availability, customer service and how our trains are presented.

“These are seeing better scores compared with last year, but we know there are some areas where we need to keep working on to improve, particularly with our performance but I can assure our passengers that we will continue to work hard on these.”