Southern Rail ranks worst in satisfaction survey

17 January 2017, 05:34 | Updated: 17 January 2017, 05:36

southern rail crowded platform

Embattled rail operator Southern has suffered its worst customer satisfaction rating in an annual survey.

The company scored just 21% in the sixth edition of the annual report by consumer group Which?.

Just one star was awarded for the categories of punctuality, reliability, seat availability, frequency and value for money, with almost half (46%) of travellers reporting their last journey was delayed.

Southern passengers have suffered months of disruption because of a bitter row between the company and trade unions over the role of guards and driver-only trains.

Southeastern was the second worst performer in the report, with a rating of just 31% including one star for seat availability.

This was followed by Thameslink and Great Northern - who share parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) with Southern - at 32%, including only one star for frequency and the condition of their carriages.

At the top of the table, five-star ratings for reliability and frequency helped put Merseyrail into first place with a score of 72%, followed by Virgin Trains West Coast (69%) and East Midlands Trains (67%).

The research was based on a survey of 2,218 commuters carried out in October and November last year. Southern's results were based on the views of 256 passengers.

Which? has launched a campaign calling for train companies to ``respect passenger rights'' and urged the Government to ``swiftly bring forward reforms that put passengers first''.

The organisation's director of campaigns, Vickie Sheriff, said: ``After months of disruption, it's no surprise to see Southern at the bottom of our customer satisfaction survey.

``Though Southern have performed particularly badly this year, the whole sector is continually failing passengers. Overcrowding, delays, short trains, carriages in poor condition - many services aren't providing even the basics.

``Enough is enough - we need rail services that finally deliver for their passengers.''

A GTR spokesman said: ``Performance is unacceptable and we're sincerely sorry.

``Our passengers deserve better and, together with Network Rail and its #300 million funding package to improve track signalling and overall performance, we're working hard to improve the service.

``This survey inevitably reflects the significant impact of the wholly unjustified industrial action being taken by Aslet and the RMT. We have made comprehensive offers to resolve this.

``Our service is also hit by the ongoing additional knock-on delays from the London Bridge redevelopment on Southern and Thameslink and we have also had performance issues on Great Northern caused by weather, signal failures in key locations and problems with the ageing trains that we have begun to replace.

``We are committed to giving passengers the services they expect.''