Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A TRAIN operator which runs services from Huntingdon and St Neots has been ranked bottom in a survey on passenger satisfaction.
However First Capital Connect, which operates trains to London King’s Cross and Peterborough, has disputed the results of the Which? research, which said just four out of 10 customers were happy with the firm.
One customer who took part in the train satisfaction survey even reportedly told Which?: “The price has increased and the trains get more and more crowded. I never see any improvements for the extra money I’m paying.”
Another said: “The prices are terrible, the service is bad and trains are often delayed, cancelled and dirty.”
However a FCC spokesman replied: “This research quizzed just 461 people online out of the 170,000 we carry every day.
“A face-to-face survey by rail watchdog Passenger Focus, which is audited by the Office of National Statistics, shows that 81 per cent of our passengers are satisfied or very satisfied with our service and 13 per cent are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Just six per cent expressed dissatisfaction.
“Our investment in the service is paying off with improved satisfaction with punctuality and journey times, the attitudes and helpfulness of our staff, the security of our services and the overall station environment.”
FCC registered improvements in passenger satisfaction for the third year running in the autumn Passenger Focus survey but managing director Neal Lawson said: “We recognise we have more to do, particularly in the area of dealing with delays.
“The lack of room to sit or stand is also an issue for our customers despite the addition of 22 per cent and 29 per cent more seats on each of our two routes during this franchise.”
It has since introduced text and email services warning about disruptions and has retained the customer support centre opened during the Olympics.
Money is also being spent to improve station facilities, the FCC spokesman said.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Passengers tell us they are fed up with trains that are delayed, overcrowded and dirty.
“This is especially disappointing as many commuters can’t shop around or change the company they travel with.
“Train companies need to play fair with their customers, especially when they are being asked to pay more for their journeys.”