Transport: Big rise in complaints about privatised rail firms

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The Independent Online
The number of complaints by passengers about four privatised rail companies rocketed in the first part of this year.

Criticisms of South West Trains increased by 160 per cent between January and March, during the time when the company scrapped up to 39 trains a day because of driver shortages. There were also big rises in complaints from Connex South Central passengers (up 144 per cent) while Great Western complaints rose 100 per cent and West Anglia Great Northern by 80 per cent.

The figures related to complaints received by the London Regional Passengers Committee, compared with the same period in 1996. Cancellations, punctuality and reliability and passenger information were the main causes of concern. "Increases of this magnitude are both worrying and unacceptable and we shall be discussing them with the companies themselves," said the committee's chairman Sir Alan Greengross. But he added that complaints for a number of other companies actually fell in the first part of the year. These were Chiltern, CrossCountry, Great Eastern, LTS Rail, North London Railways, ScotRail and Eurostar.

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