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Southeastern trains second worst in Britain for passenger satisfaction

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The level of commuter frustration with Kent's train services was made clear today with the release of a customer satisfaction survey placing Southeastern second to last.

Southern and Thameslink - which also run services in the county - came third and last respectively.

The figures show no overall improvement for beleaguered Southeastern when compared to the most recent survey - with a small increase year on year.

Adan stabbed the man on a train. Stock picture
Adan stabbed the man on a train. Stock picture

Just 67% of customers surveyed were satisfied with the reliability and punctuality of Southeastern trains, a drop from 72% in 2014.

The firm blamed a series of signalling and points failures as well as other track problems, such as falling trees due to storms and a track closure caused by tunnel masonry falling onto a line.

And recently trains faced delays due to 'the wrong type of sun'.

In addition to these problems, Southeastern said the rebuilding of London Bridge, "has presented challenges."

As well as punctuality, customers were not happy with the frequency of trains, with satisfaction falling from 73% to 67%.

Southeastern also fared badly on ticket costs - only 35% of respondents said they were satisfied.

Satisfaction with how the company handled delays was even worse, at just 31%.

Overall the High Speed services came out better than the mainline or metro services, but still fared badly on value for money.

The high speed service has however seen a 5% increase and now has a 93% customer satisfaction rate – similar to levels seen in the 12 months after the 2012 Olympics.

Network Rail’s area director Paul Rutter said: “We are working hard on the reliability of our equipment and we have a plans in place to continue to improve it.

"However, the very busy nature of the railway in south London and Kent means the impact of any problems we do have will be significant.

"In addition, this winter’s heavy rain has been challenging for us with several landslips, including a significant problem at Barnehurst.

"Severe damage to the sea wall at Dover has also had an effect on train punctuality as we are working hard to find a long-term solution.”

Rail watchdog Passenger Focus agreed commuters in the south east had a particularly tough few months, citing the rebuild of London Bridge.

But the group said development was needed to cope with "spiralling" passenger numbers.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: "While improvements and investments to the railway to cope with this growth are long overdue and very welcome, the process of rebuilding is proving painful in some places.

"Punctuality and crowding drive passenger views of the railway. The value for money scores highlight the wide variations around the country and between different routes.

"Passengers rightly expect the train companies and Network Rail to keep to their basic promises with most trains on time, the right length and with few cancellations."

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