RAIL CAMPAIGN: Two companies in bottom three for ‘satisfaction’

Train line at Folkington, Polegate
Train line at Folkington, Polegate
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The two train companies which serve East Sussex finished in the bottom three of an annual satisfaction survey of 21 operators - and the third worst rated company is joining up with Southern Rail this year.

The results of the Passenger Focus survey saw Southern Rail, Southeastern and Govia Thameslink at the bottom of the pile for satisfied travellers.

Only 77 per cent of passengers were satisfied with Southern rail and Govia Thameslink services, and 74 per cent with Southeastern.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, 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.”

Things looked no better in a survey by consumer watchdog Which?

It scored train companies based on the responses of more than 7,300 train travellers when asked about their journeys over the last 12 months.

Customer scores were based on overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending that train company to a friend. Which? also asked people to rate how they felt about factors like reliability, punctuality, value for money and cleanliness.

Southern trains came joint 18th with 46 per cent for overall customer satisfaction. Southeastern came 20th with 44 per cent.

Southern Rail deputy managing director David Scorey said: “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.”

A spokeswoman for Southeastern trains said: “We understand that reliability, punctuality, availability of seating, cleanliness and overall value for money is extremely important to our customers.

“We are committed to improving performance through a robust new timetable introduced last month which has already seen punctuality improve. In March, we will start a deep cleaning programme of all our trains that will improve the travelling experience on Southeastern.

“We’re investing more than £70 million over the next three years in the areas that passengers tell us are most important to them. This investment will provide better information to our passengers, improve the condition of our trains, refresh our stations and provide extra staff to deliver more face-to-face customer service. Passengers will start to see the results of this investment over the next few months and we hope that this will be reflected in future passenger surveys.”