Rail passengers dissatisfied with services
RAIL passengers in Suffolk and Essex are among the least satisfied with train services in the country, a survey by an independent watchdog has revealed.
The watchdog, Passenger Focus, has released the results from its National Passenger Survey, which shows that National Express East Anglia (NXEA) received one of the lowest ratings for customer satisfaction in the country.
This is despite a slight increase in overall satisfaction rates for the train operator, from 76% in spring 2009 to 77% this spring.
The survey found that passengers had become more dissatisfied with the cleanliness of the outside of the train. However there were improvements in the provision of information about train times and the frequency of the trains.
Performance results collated by the Witham and Braintree Rail Users Association, shows that between January and May last year, 11.4% of trains on the line into London were late, but for the same period this year, it jumped to 13.1%.
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Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, said: “I completely understand the concerns people have, not least because I use the trains a great deal. They are always dirty, regularly late and the rolling stock is among the oldest in the network.
“I think the solution is to have a much longer franchise in the future, which will allow its successor to invest for the long term.
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“I have written to Philip Hammond [transport secretary] asking in the strongest possible terms that we have a long franchise that puts the needs of Ipswich first. I have also already met the senior management of NXEA and passed on the enormous frustration that people have with their service and I hope there will be some minor improvements very soon.”
Earlier this month it was announced that the new government has scrapped plans to hand over the franchise to another company, meaning NXEA will continue to run trains in Essex for the foreseeable future.
Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia said: “We welcome the publication of the latest National Passenger Survey and I am pleased our overall customer satisfaction rating has improved on the spring 2009 score.
“It is always helpful to receive feedback from our passengers and we recognise there is still much more work to do in fully meeting our customers’ expectations. We will continue to work towards further improvement and play a leading role in developing a positive future strategy for rail services in the East of England.”
More than 56,000 passengers take part in the national survey every year. The highest rate for overall satisfaction was achieved by Wrexham & Shropshire (99%) and the lowest ratings for overall satisfaction were given to London Overground (72%).