Satisfaction levels among Southern Rail passengers are at the highest level for seven years, national watchdog Transport Focus has announced.
Some 81% of Southern passengers said they were satisfied or very satisfied, a 12-percentage point increase, while the proportion of passengers saying they were happy with punctuality rose 20% percentage points to 74%.
Passenger satisfaction on Gatwick Express is two percentage points higher, at 89%, which is also the highest in seven years.
Thameslink, which had fallen to 77% in the autumn 2018 survey following the timetable difficulties in May last year, has recorded its second highest-ever figure of 83%.
Great Northern has also returned to last year’s pre-May levels, up nine percentage points on the most recent autumn survey, with 77% of passengers satisfied, which is broadly similar to the same period 12 months ago.
Patrick Verwer, Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said: “Passengers on Southern are now happier with the service than they have been at any time in the past seven years. Across the board, they are more satisfied with the standard of our stations and trains and the smooth-running of the timetable. Underpinning these scores is a consistently reliable service, with nine out of trains running on time.”
Mr Verwer added: “Passenger satisfaction has bounced back on Thameslink and Great Northern as services have recovered from the disruption caused by the spring 2018 timetable change. On Thameslink, passenger satisfaction is at its second highest level. Punctuality and reliability on Thameslink are good, with almost nine in ten trains arriving on time.
“Since the survey was carried out, we have started to replace the UK’s oldest electric fleet with new Class 717 trains on Great Northern and we hope these improvements will be reflected in future surveys.
“However, we know there is always more we can do, particularly on reliability for our Great Northern customers, and we are working hard to make further improvements. I’d like to thank colleagues for their hard work and dedication, and our passengers for their custom, and for taking the time to let us know what they think of our service.
“Partnership working is crucial to GTR’s success and I’d like to acknowledge the vital role played Network Rail and our suppliers.”
The Transport Focus results come after the rail regulator gave an upbeat assessment on GTR, which operates Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern: punctuality on GTR was at its highest level for seven years according to the latest figures from the Office of Rail and Road. GTR carries 19 per cent of all UK rail passengers, which have increased to 342 million a year, the ORR said.
The spring survey was conducted from mid-January to mid-March
Data on service performance:
Southern Public Performance Measure 28/4 – 25/5 90%; Thameslink Public Performance Measure 28/4 – 25/5 86%
Details on GTR performance contained in ORR’s Passenger Rail Usage report 2018-19, Q4
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London 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