Stagecoach Group’s rail services have been given the thumbs up in the recent National Passenger Survey from Passenger Focus. The transport watchdog found that 87% of East Midlands Trains customers are satisfied, while 83% are satisfied with South West Trains services.
Passenger satisfaction has increased at East Midlands Trains in 28 of the 33 categories travellers judged the service on. The highest rise was for station facilities, by 3% to 85%, which is the highest level of satisfaction the operator has ever achieved. Car parking facilities were also rated very highly, with a 9% rise in satisfaction, representing the more than 1,200 new spaces the franchise has introduced. It opened a new 950-space multi-storey car park in Nottingham.
Additionally, 85% of passengers said they were satisfied with their service, which is up 8% compared to the previous year, while employees were rated highly in all six areas directly related to staff. The condition of the train fleet was another category where East Midlands Trains saw an increase in satisfaction. Overall satisfaction with train cleanliness rose 4% to 82% – a 5% increase for exterior cleanliness and 4% increase for interior cleanliness.
East Midlands Trains managing director David Horne says it’s great to see that their multi-million pound investment programme is still making a difference to passengers. Their £30 million investment into the fleet is drawing to a close after delivering improvements to all their trains. It’s clearly having a big impact on their customers. It’s even more pleasing that satisfaction among the availability and helpfulness of staff has increased. They have felt their people are at the heart of the service, and it’s nice to see that consumers recognise this, he added.
Passenger satisfaction at South West Trains rose 6% for the space on trains to sit or stand, 5% for space to put luggage, 4% for station safety and 3% for fleet quality. Just 5% of the survey respondents said they were dissatisfied. The franchise is investing more than £100 million on improvements for passengers – including fleet refurbishment, better customer information, better station facilities and additional car parking. Over 100 stations in its network have been given secure station status as well.
In early May, South West Trains and Network Rail launched an alliance – a first for the British rail industry – to create a single senior joint management team. This team is responsible for both the track and trains on routes operating out of London Waterloo. The alliance is aimed to benefit rail freight operators on the route as well.
South West Trains and Network Rail Alliance customer service director Jake Kelly says feedback from passengers shows that most of them are satisfied with their overall service. They are performing above the average for the sector, but they know there is room for improvement in several areas. The recent alliance launched between the franchise and Network Rail means they can work together more effectively. Their primary focus is to deliver better customer service, work more efficiently and reduce delays through a combined management team. They will use the latest survey results to target key areas they can do more in to meet customers’ needs and give them a high quality, reliable train service.
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