Poll: Is Greater Anglia really the worst rail company in the country?

Greater Anglia fared badly in the Which? survey. Photo: Bill Smith Greater Anglia fared badly in the Which? survey. Photo: Bill Smith

Monday, February 17, 2014
9:24 AM

Greater Anglia has the lowest satisfaction rating of all rail companies in the country, according to a Which? survey of more than 7,000 regular travellers.

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Together with Southeastern, its satisfaction score was only 40pc, while First Capital Connect scored 41pc.

Ten of the 19 companies had satisfaction scores of less than 50pc, with Merseyrail at 70pc the best-performing company.

The survey, conducted among 7,415 UK adults in November 2013 also showed:

- 16pc of all passengers experienced a delay on their last journey, with this figure rising to 26pc for commuters;

- 21pc of commuters said they were likely to have stood on their last journey:

- 11pc said toilets were not in good working order. This rose to 17pc for First Capital Connect (FCC):

- 11pc said they had cause to complain about the last journey they had taken, but 75pc did not officially complain. Of those who did complain, more than half 55pc were dissatisfied with how it was handled.

The overall satisfaction scores were based on satisfaction with a company and the likelihood of customers recommending the company. On average, those surveyed had travelled by train 32 times in the previous 12 months.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “It’s disappointing to see some train companies consistently falling down on the basics of customer service, with dirty and overcrowded carriages and toilets that don’t work.

“Seven rail franchises end in the next two years and we want to see passengers’ experiences put right at the heart of the tender process so companies respond to consumer expectations and can be held to account if they don’t.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the findings of the Which? survey.

“The results are based on a significantly smaller sample size than the National Passenger Survey (NPS) by the independent rail industry watchdog Passenger Focus, who survey almost 2,200 of our customers in a much more representative twice-a-year survey compared to Which who surveyed 507 passengers.

“In the most recent NPS which was undertaken at a similar time to the Which survey and involved a much wider cross section of our customers who were interviewed over a longer period of time, 80pc told Passenger Focus they were satisfied overall with the service, and amongst our Mainline Intercity customers, 91pc were satisfied with their journey.

“We always welcome all customer feedback and we recognise there is much more for us to do to improve passenger satisfaction across our network. We are working closely with Network Rail to provide more consistent and better levels of train service performance building on the improved punctuality we have delivered since taking over the franchise in 2012, and we are also focused on improving train cleanliness and working with our industry partners in making the case for rolling stock upgrades.”

A First Capital Connect spokesman said: “We are disappointed, especially after the far larger National Passenger Survey showed overall satisfaction scores of 79pc, but we listen to all feedback and are taking steps to deliver what passengers want.

“Since this survey was carried out we have frozen our 25pc-plus weekend and bank holiday discounted tickets and launched a further 10pc off online sales in January to give passengers better value for money.

“We’ve unveiled a new train that will address overcrowding on our routes and completed a deep clean of the carriages we have now with a £350,000 investment in extra staff and equipment.

“We have also worked hard to improve the reliability of our services with specific teams focused on time-keeping. However, their efforts have been derailed by repeated issues with the tracks, signalling and power equipment that – put simply – we do not maintain.”

23 comments

  • The next franchise needs to mandate new rolling stock, otherwise we won't get any. But will it? NO. Expect new rolling stock for major routes like the East Coast mainline, and their current stock shunted onto us. Not GA's fault or the enxt franchise operator, entirely the government body who specify the next franchise agreement.

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    User Removed

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • As i said earlier, the vast majority of staff do amazing jobs given the lack of decent equipment. However, one conductorguard in particular, really has an attitude problem and picks needless arguments with passengers. In addition, the First Class carriages are a joke. The chairs are uncomfortable, the interior dated and often fixturesfittings broken...The only way I can see any great improvement is by giving Greater Anglia a longer lease agreement so that they feel they can invest in rolling stock refurbs and better facilities.

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    commutingcomedy

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • I was under the impression privatisation was "better" (judging by some comments from readers). I have to say East Coast, currently in the public's hands, is one of the best train companies around. They offer loyalty points, wifi throughout the train, power sockets, clean carriages, and a trolley service. First class for about 50p more some weekends has a trolley service, free wifi, etc. By contrast Greater Anglia offer no power sockets, poor wifi, dirty carriages, no food trolleys, and the stations leave a lot to be desired for. Norwich station is in need of a major overhaul.

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    Jono

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • It not really all down to the train operator, remember this track has had little to no funding for decade so it's not really a suprise to see the line in the bottom. I'm sure they would do much better if they had control of the maintence of the tracks and signals and the funding network rail get. Privatisation clearly has not worked so it's time to restore it to national ownership, or bring in NS from Holland, they'll run it properly.

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    parkeg1

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Yes treated like cattle and this is progress? An absolute and utter disgrace no other country in Europe yes i repaet Europe would tolerate this terrible situation

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    johnty

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Have to disagree with the comments on the guards and catering staff on GA too, they have always been very polite and friendly to me and I travel frequently. I'm sure a lot of people try it on with them to evade a fare, it is not their fault if people don't read the details on the ticket and conditions properly. If there is a delay or cancellation it isn't their fault either, the way a lot of customers lay into them as if it is.

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    User Removed

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Yes treated like cattle and this is progress? An absolute and utter disgrace no other country in Europe yes i repaet Europe would tolerate this terrible situation

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    johnty

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • LLCK highlights a problem which affects all train companies and that is the potential for real misery caused by pre booked tickets, closed ticket offices, inoperative ticket machines and disputes which happen because it is becoming harder to buy a reasonably priced ticket when simply walking up to a station and the ticket inspectors are becoming nastier and unhelpful. If the person whose ticket had been refused was a student or poor person without recourse to additional funds what would they have done? Turned them off the train probably. Greater Anglia's service may not be good but it is all part of a service which treats all customers as potential thieves whilst at the same time cheating many out of the seats they have paid for because of deliberate under provision of carriages. Customer service doesn't come into it.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • As others have said, Greater Anglia aren't the main culprit here. They were awarded a 1 year franchise with a small extension after it was revealed how inept the Government body awarding franchises was. Where is the incentive to them for investment? Of course they aren't going to plough money into it if the loose it in a few months. It's up to the government to set a franchise with goals including new rolling stock on all lines, more through maintenance, more station improvements etc. But they don't, they award the franchise to whoever will pay back the most therefore run the railway the cheapest. So more running ragged ancient 80's stock, no money for station improvements, no capacity for more thorough maintenance, just profits for the people at the top.

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    User Removed

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • But weren't we all told that when it's privatised it'll be so much better than BR was................Our GA train was "so good" they gave us loads of the fare back!

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    marty r

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Always seconhand Locos and rolling stock

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    Albert Cooper

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • YES..My husband has always worked in and around London, last year he commuted. I have got to say, out of an average week, only 2-3 of the trains would be on time. It was a dreadful year to be honest. So much so, that this past few months, he is now staying in a hotel all week and driving monday and a friday. Cheaper than the trains and at least he stands a better chance of actually getting to work. Dreadful service ALL the time! Even when I have travelled to see him mid week on the train, first class is always dirty and disgusting.

    Report this comment

    luanmapo

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Five of my morning commute journeys out of ten during the past two weeks were cancelled for: 1 x over running engineering works 4 x train fault. I can understand that the company could not help the engineering works over running but a train company with no working trains is rediculous.

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    Jonathan Knights

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • They are responsible for their staff and keeping their carriages clean and in working order. So, the charmer who responds to a polite 'my ticket has already been checked' with 'that was ages ago, we can check them as often as we like' is in need of some lessons in customer service. The seats which no longer recline need fixing. The lighting tubes which are dead need replacing. The offer of a refreshment trolley needs reinstating. It is a cattle-truck service and bears no comparison with South West Trains, Virgin, East Coast to name three I use often. And 'Delay Repay' is almost standard procedure.

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    a fine city

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • The worst rail company in the country - look no further than Norwich station, and the other company that uses it - East Midland trains. They treat passengers like cattle, although in fairness their customer service dept is excellent.

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    biglingers

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • "Is Greater Anglia really the worst rail company in the country?" According to the poll YES

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    ggj666

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Yes treatedlike cattle herded into dirty carriages with exhorbitant prices for basic refreshments all delivered through a hailer by some pleb. What a failure and disgrace no other country in Europe would tolerate such insulting and abysmal circumtances

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    johnty

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • Greater Anglia is not responsible for the clapped out carriages and the defective track, electrification and signalling, and they are only caretaking the franchise for the time being. I think they do fairly well in the circumstances.

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    JCW

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • I've been commuting to London from Norwich for the past 12 months and i've had no end of delays, cancellations, dirty carriages, a rude conductor (one extremely arrogant chap, already mentioned by LLCK), blockeddirty toilets, poor catering (the staff are good, just lack decent equipment, the coffee machine is often broken). However, most of the staff are excellent and willing to help where they can. The WiFi is poor, especially for a paid service. There are basic things they could do to just provide an improved service. Finally, instead of painting the outside of the carriages, spend the money and effort on the internals, where it could really make a difference.

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    commutingcomedy

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • We ahd an awful experience with Greater Anglia trains. We travelled to London on pre-booked tickets last summer. However, the tickets had been mis-printed, so at no point in time were they valid. The young, arrogant ticket inspector, James, failed to see the mistake and accused my mother of forging the tickets or cheating the system and made her pay up another £115.00. As we had young children with us, we did not want to make a fuss but the ticket inspector clearly was unable to do his job. If he were, he would have seen the common transaction number and so seen the incorrect dates on some of the tickets. The money was later refunded after an explanatory letter.

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    LLCK

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • When I have used Greater Anglia recently it has been very patchy. In between Good Enough and Awful. As to the 'worst in the country' - I have not tried the others so I can't say. Feels like it is trying to win 'Worst'.

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    Patrick

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • YES..My husband has always worked in and around London, last year he commuted. I have got to say, out of an average week, only 2-3 of the trains would be on time. It was a dreadful year to be honest. So much so, that this past few months, he is now staying in a hotel all week and driving monday and a friday. Cheaper than the trains and at least he stands a better chance of actually getting to work. Dreadful service ALL the time! Even when I have travelled to see him mid week on the train, first class is always dirty and disgusting.

    Report this comment

    luanmapo

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Unfortunately it's true. Old bangers of engines and rolling stock which are dirty and unreliable resulting in regular cancellations because they don't have an adequate fleet to cover for breakdowns and delays, in turn resulting in frustrating and annoying let downs for customers. The food service has gone from bad to worse, firstly with the withdrawl of the restaurant cars on the London route, then the food trollies. They don’t understand the concept of good customer service. They're miles behind the best operators in the country. Sad...............

    Report this comment

    Honest Injun

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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