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Kent rail operator Southeastern ranked one of Britain's worst train companies by passengers in Which? survey

17 February 2014
by KentOnline reporter

Kent's train operator Southeastern has today been ranked one of the worst in the country for passenger satisfaction levels.

Almost two-thirds of passengers are unhappy with the service provided by the company, according to a new survey by consumer group Which?

Southeastern's 40% satisfaction score is 3% lower than last year's and puts it joint bottom in 18th place with Greater Anglia.

Southeastern has been ranked bottom of a Which survey. Picture Library image

Southeastern trains have been delayed by a landslip. Picture: Library image

Ten of the 19 companies had satisfaction scores of less than 50%, with Merseyrail the best-performing company with 70%.

Complaints included delays to services, having to stand on journeys and toilets not in good working order.

The survey, conducted among 7,400 regular travellers, also showed:

  • 16% of all passengers experienced a delay on their last journey, with this figure rising to 26% for commuters
  • 21% of commuters said they were likely to have stood on their last journey
  • 11% said toilets were not in good working order - this rose to 19% for Southeastern
  • 11% said they had cause to complain about the last journey they had taken, but 75% did not officially complain. Of those who did complain, 55% were dissatisfied with how it was handled.

Passengers were asked for their opinions in a Which survey

Passengers were asked for their opinions in a Which? survey

The overall scores were based on satisfaction with a company and the likelihood of customers recommending the company.

Which? also asked what passengers felt would improve their journeys and what they would be prepared to pay more for.

Lower ticket prices were top of the wanted list (60%), with 80% saying fares were too high.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

People also wanted to see more carriages at peak times (35%), promotions on ticket prices (29%), wi-fi as standard (20%) and improved punctuality and reliability (18% - rising to 29% for commuters only).

However, more than half (53%) said they would not mind paying more if they saw an improvement in service in return.

Half (49%) would pay more for a more reliable service, and a similar number (48%) would pay more to guarantee a seat. A total of 42% would pay more if the money went towards new trains.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "It's disappointing to see some train companies consistently falling down on the basics of customer service, with dirty and overcrowded carriages and toilets that don't work.

"Seven rail franchises end in the next two years and we want to see passengers' experiences put right at the heart of the tender process so companies respond to consumer expectations and can be held to account if they don't."

Almost two-thirds of Southeastern passengers are unhappy with the service they receive, a survey has found

Almost two-thirds of Southeastern passengers are unhappy with the service they receive, a survey has found

Southeastern said passengers are frustrated after a "challenging few months".

A spokesman said: "We're disappointed with the result of the Which? survey, but we've had a challenging few months with bad weather and infrastructure problems affecting services and so it's understandable that customers have expressed their frustration through this survey.

"Just last month the independent National Passenger Survey, based on a larger sample of customers, said 84% of passengers were satisfied with our service and placed us better than the national average.

"We've been working hard to improve reliability and to ensure that customers have the information that they need in the event of disruption. We take all feedback on board and we're committed to continuing to work on improving our service."

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