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GTR response to National Rail Passenger Satisfaction Survey (Autumn 2017)

News   •   Jan 30, 2018 12:02 GMT

The new Thameslink train, at Brighton station

Satisfaction among passengers with Govia Thameslink Railway’s Thameslink service is at its highest-ever level (83%) since 1999 when the survey began, thanks to new trains, more punctual services, better information and more helpful staff, according to the independent national passenger watchdog Transport Focus.

And a steady increase in punctuality has seen passenger satisfaction with Southern begin to climb, by seven percentage points, to 72%.

Great Northern services and those of Gatwick Express have dipped one percentage point, at 77% and 81% respectively, but GTR’s RailPlan 20/20 modernisation plan will see big changes and improvements with new routes and capacity for 35,000-40,000 more passengers into London each morning starting this May.

GTR’s Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown said: “More passengers than ever before are saying they are satisfied with our Thameslink service thanks to the hard work our staff, new spacious trains, and our focus on punctuality and customer service. On Southern, after last year’s intense period of industrial action, our services are improving and we are determined to build on that.

“This May, we’ll be improving the service further through our RailPlan 20/20 modernisation programme. We’ll have longer trains on Thameslink and more new trains on Great Northern. A brand new timetable in May will make Southern more reliable and add another 80 stations to the cross-London Thameslink route, creating capacity for up to 40,000 extra passengers into London.

“GTR was created to bring together and transform four of the busiest rail routes in the UK. Our network is not directly comparable to any other because it is undergoing one of the biggest change programmes ever seen in the UK.”

Thameslink – features of the survey

Features of the survey for Thameslink:

  • The highest-ever ‘overall’ satisfaction for Thameslink of 83% (up 10 percentage points) – due to general improvement in service
  • The highest-ever overall train satisfaction of 85% (up 13 percentage points) – due to a brand-new fleet of spacious air-conditioned trains, many with 50% more carriages than before (see picture, attached)
  • Information provided during the journey 84% (up 33 percentage points) – through improved driver announcements and new trains which even tell passengers where to find more space on board
  • Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability 73% (up 17 percentage points) – due to a focus on a right-time railway and improving service levels (87% of Thameslink trains arriving on time – 20 percentage points higher than year before)
  • Satisfaction with the way Thameslink staff help passengers asking for information 93% (up __ percentage points) – following a programme of customer service training

Southern – features of the survey

  • Overall satisfaction for Southern 72% (up seven percentage points)
  • Satisfaction with punctuality and reliability 57% (up 13 percentage points) – improving service levels (73% of Southern trains arriving on time compared to 62% year before) due to a fresh focus on punctuality and an end to the ASLEF drivers’ dispute. Also, during continuing RMT strike action, 95% of services run as normal due to the deployment of contingency guards and OnBoard Supervisors and more people defying the call to action (see editor’s notes).
  • Satisfaction with stations – up 4 percentage points to 78%
  • Satisfaction with the way Southern staff help passengers asking for information 86% (up 9 percentage points) – following a programme of customer service training
  • Satisfaction with service information provided 80% (up 7 percentage points)

Great Northern – features of the survey

  • A 91% satisfaction rate with the way Great Northern staff help passengers asking for information (up five percentage points) – following a programme of customer service training
  • Significant improvements in satisfaction with information provided to passengers – up 13 percentage points to 61% - thanks to better announcements by drivers, new Class 387 and Class 700 trains with modern information systems and upgrades to older style trains

Gatwick Express – features of the survey

  • Satisfaction with the usefulness of information provided during delays up 24 percentage points to 48% – on-board teams now have devices with real-time information
  • Satisfaction with the availability of staff – risen 5 percentage points to 65%
  • Satisfaction with ticket buying facilities up 8 percentage points to 64% - Oyster and Contactless is now available to Gatwick Airport


Editor’s notes

For more information email or call 0203 750 2030/1

You can view the autumn 2017 National Passenger Survey report at

The Thameslink score of 83% of passengers either satisfied or very satisfied is the highest since Transport Focus began its survey in autumn 1999.

Transport Focus, the independent passenger watchdog, surveys 25,000 people with questionnaires and online, covering all types of passenger, and asks people about their last journey. Which? in its recent survey, canvassed the opinions of just 2,865 commuters online – equivalent to around 115 passengers per train company. 4.5m journeys are made each day.

In April 2016 16% of conductors rostered to work attended work on strike days. That was before GTR had converted many of its conductors to the new role of On Board Supervisors (OBSs). In October 2017 31% of conductors attended work on a strike day and, looking at conductors and OBS combined, 49% in total turned up for work. During the most recent strike, 58% of conductors and OBS rostered attended work.