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Rail passenger satisfaction levels on the rise in the East

PUBLISHED: 16:22 29 January 2013 | UPDATED: 16:22 29 January 2013

Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to London service run by Abellio.  Photo: Bill Smith

Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to London service run by Abellio. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

Two out of the three rail companies that run services in and out of Norfolk have been named as the lowest scoring when it comes to passenger satisfaction, according to new figures.

Greater Anglia and First Capital Connect feature towards the bottom of the league table in Passenger Focus’ latest National Passenger Survey (NPS). However, both rail operators said customer satisfaction was on the increase and pledged to make further improvements to services.

The independent survey found that 83pc of passengers using Greater Anglia services last autumn were satisfied with their journey, compared to 77pc in 2011.

Satisfaction rates for First Capital Connect, which runs trains between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross, were at 81pc, which represents an increase for the third year in a row.

Officials from East Midlands Trains spoke of their delight after getting their highest passenger satisfaction score of 89pc.

Passenger Focus said the biggest factor in satisfaction levels was rail punctuality and service quality was improving. The report added that Greater Anglia had “improved markedly”, but still had “a long way to go”.

Dutch firm Abellio took the operation of local rail services 12 months ago. Ruud Haket, managing director of Greater Anglia said the company had worked hard to improve and invest in customer service at stations and on trains and upgrade facilities and had recently achieved a new high for train service punctuality. He added that they have also launched a comprehensive customer service training programme for its frontline employees.

“These are very encouraging results and I am pleased that the efforts the Greater Anglia team has made to invest in and improve customer service, combined with the closer working alliance with Network Rail, is already delivering better customer service and performance.

“We recognise there is more to do and our focus is to build on these improved levels of satisfaction and to continue to invest in improving the service we offer our passengers,” he said.

First Capital Connect added that satisfaction levels had increased since it scored 75pc in 2009.

Managing director Neal Lawson said: “We are pleased to have registered improvements in autumn passenger satisfaction for the third year running. In particular, investment is paying off in satisfaction with punctuality and journey times, the attitudes and helpfulness of our staff, the security of our services and the overall station environment. However, we recognise we have more to do, particularly in the area of dealing with delays.”

David Horne, managing director for East Midlands Trains, said there had been a 2pc year on year increase in satisfaction.

“We’re all really proud to have achieved our highest ever level of passenger satisfaction. Our staff are committed to working hard day in, day out, to provide the best level of service for our passengers and these results are great recognition of their work.

Passenger Focus chief executive, Anthony Smith, added: “Passengers are saying the quality of rail services is improving. The combination of increased income from fares, government investment and a clearer focus on performance and dealing with disruption is beginning to pay off. However, more work needs to be done. Satisfaction on individual routes still varies widely from 76 to 97 per cent.”

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