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 - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

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.

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;

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- 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):

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- 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.'

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