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Southeastern fares in the spotlight in Transport Focus survey

Four in 10 passengers who use Southeastern trains do not feel they get value for money, while nearly the same amount are happy with what they pay, a survey has shown.

The independent watchdog Transport Focus says 40% of rail users questioned in their twice yearly study were dissatisfied with fares - one of the highest figures of 25 train operating companies.

Some 39% said they were satisfied with fares while 22% were neither satisfied or dissatisfied - broadly in line with the previous year’s findings.

Stock picture of a Southeastern train in the snow. (6836403)
Stock picture of a Southeastern train in the snow. (6836403)

At the same time, overall satisfaction levels for Southeastern services were 78%.

The survey was carried out last autumn - prior to the news that fares were to rise by 3.1% from January.

The train operator was recently granted a three-month extension to its franchise taking it to June 2019.

A spokesman said: “Four out of five passengers are satisfied with our service, and these results are a 3% improvement on the previous survey.

"But we know there’s always more we can and will do to keep improving.

"Satisfaction with punctuality has increased by 5%, reflecting our most punctual autumn on record in 2018.

"And satisfaction with the way we handled passenger queries has risen by 9%, reflecting the 200 additional staff we've introduced to help passengers with their journeys, including award-winning Customer Ambassadors at major London stations."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “Our latest survey confirms passenger satisfaction has fallen to a 10-year low.

"Government and the industry must continue to focus on performance. In the longer term the government’s rail review must bring about fundamental change.

“A better value for money and more reliable railway must arrive soon for passengers.”

When it came to ticket prices, only three other operators had higher levels of passenger dissatisfaction: Thameslink (42%); South Western (42%) and Great Northern (43%).

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