New trains, more punctual services, better information and more helpful staff have seen passenger satisfaction on Thameslink route rise by 10 percentage points to its highest-ever level, according to the independent national passenger watchdog Transport Focus. Owner Govia Thameslink Railway says it will do more to improve scores further through its RailPlan 20/20 modernisation programme.
The results of the latest National Rail Passenger Survey reveal that 83% of passengers are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the Bedford to Brighton, Wimbledon, Sutton and Sevenoaks rail service. A further 10% were neither dissatisfied nor satisfied.
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 are now arriving on time – 20 percentage points higher than a year ago)
- Satisfaction with the way Thameslink staff help passengers asking for information 93% (up 6 percentage points) – following a programme of customer service training
Thameslink Passenger Services Director Stuart Cheshire said: “The hard work our staff here at GTR are putting into the Thameslink service shows in these latest results. New spacious trains, many with 50% more carriages, and a real focus on punctuality and customer service has made a profound difference and passengers are starting to notice.
“This year, we’ll be improving the service still further through our RailPlan 20/20 modernisation programme. In the next few months we’ll be lengthening even more 8-carriage services to 12-coaches and, in May, Thameslink trains will return to London Bridge, cutting journey times to Gatwick and Brighton and opening up new routes via the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf. We’ll have new fast services from Bedford and Luton and more trains at many stations in the peak providing much greater capacity.”
Notes to editors
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 750 2031
You can view the autumn 2017 National Passenger Survey report at www.transportfocus.org.uk.
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.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff. The operator carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.
Ticket revenue is passed to the government, which pays GTR a fee to operate the franchise. The fee is adjusted according to how well the train service is performing.
Southern has the fastest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry as a whole doubling over the past 20 years. To meet this growth and to future-proof the network, GTR is modernising the rail service for passengers.
GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 500 new carriages so far.
The transformative £7bn Thameslink Programme will bring hundreds more daily services, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from up to 15 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve resilience across the GTR network.
GTR is modernising how it works, with new technology in use at our stations and on our trains, smartcard ticketing and a new, flexible on-board role on many Southern services. This ensures fewer cancellations, and with more staff on board our trains now than ever before, passengers are enjoying a much better level of on-board customer service.
The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.