Customers savage rail firms
Friday 20 February 1998
The study is a collection of surveys of customer attitudes conducted by the train companies since they were privatised. The results present a mixed picture. It shows that even the most highly-regarded train companies such as Chiltern Railways and Gatwick Express are failing to meet passenger satisfaction targets.
Cleanliness of trains, seat availability and station information are among the biggest complaints that passengers have, according to the statistics from the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (Opraf) - the body which sold off the railways.
On the Chiltern line, which runs between London Marylebone and Birmingham, passenger surveys showed the service had got worse in 14 out of 15 categories. Another surprise was the Gatwick Express service, which carries thousands of package holidaymakers each day. Despite being one of the few lines that makes money without subsidy, passengers were unhappy about speed of ticket purchases, seat availability, cleanliness and refreshments.
South West Trains, which runs trains from London through Surrey and is owned by the transport company Stagecoach, was also criticised by its users for poor time-keeping and overcrowded carriages.
Commuters on a large London network, the French-owned Connex South Central, also berated the service for being overcrowded.
The Opraf figures, published for the first time, showed details of whether 19 of the 25 train operating companies had met their agreed benchmark figure for passenger satisfaction in a number of different areas of service.
Each company has different benchmarks and different survey times and no comparison with previous British Rail figures are possible.
This approach was criticised by rail campaigners. "We were hoping for league tables but the way the figures are collected allows for no meaningful comparison," said Jonathan Bray of Save Our Railways.
The passenger survey figures showed that 79 benchmark figures have improved and 58 have got worse. Of the 19 companies, 10 have generally improved, seven have got worse and two are roughly the same.
"This first publication of figures shows a mixed picture and it is too early to draw any firm conclusions," said John O'Brien, the franchising director. "However, it is encouraging to note that there are more results which are better than benchmark than are worse."
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...