Customer satisfaction with train services on the South West Trains network stands at 81%, according to the latest data issued today by independent watchdog Passenger Focus.
A total of 5% of passengers interviewed said they were dissatisfied with the service, with 13% saying they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied*.
Five key priority areas for customers are included in the research: punctuality and reliability, capacity on trains, value for money, satisfaction with the station and how well train companies deal with delays.
The latest survey was carried out between 2 September and 11 November last year. During the period, the UK was hit by the St Jude storm which had a particularly severe impact on the south and south-west of England.
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “Eight in 10 of our passengers remain satisfied with their train service, but we know everyone who plays a part in running the railways has work to do to ensure we better meet the expectations of our customers.
“There is no question that 2013 was a challenging year for passengers and train operators across the whole of the UK rail network, which at times was affected by severe weather and infrastructure issues. This was particularly true for networks such as ours with a high volume of commuters where train punctuality is a major driver of satisfaction.
“Passenger satisfaction with our services has remained at a stable level throughout 2013, but we want to improve the experience for our customers. We are investing millions of pounds in the year ahead to make a difference across every area that is a priority for our passengers.”
Improvements for passengers travelling on services operated by the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance in 2014 include:
Punctuality and reliability
· around £360 million is being spent to renew and enhance the infrastructure to provide more reliable journeys for passengers
· extra staff are being introduced at the busiest stations to help trains run more punctually
Value for Money
· biggest ever ticket sale just launched offering hundreds of thousands of £10 return tickets every weekend throughout January and February
· car parking charges have been frozen or reduced this year at around 50% of stations
· free on-board WiFi will be rolled out across Class 444 fleet from Spring
Dealing with delays
· launch of improved train driver and crew schedules to reduce the impact of disruption on customers
· platform 20 at the former Waterloo International Terminal is now open ahead of schedule and is already being used to help accommodate trains during disruption
Capacity on trains
· the first of 108 extra carriages will be introduced over the coming weeks as part of a £65 million programme to provide an additional 23,000 peak time seats every weekday
· working with the Department for Transport on significant proposals to re-open the remaining four platforms at the former Waterloo International terminal and to extend platforms 1 to 4 at London Waterloo to create extra capacity at the UK’s busiest station
· £6.5 million scheme is underway to provide extra car parking at Winchester, Farnborough and Fleet stations
· a major £20 million scheme to improve accessibility at eight stations will be completed in 2014, providing new lifts and footbridges, accessible toilets and low counter ticket windows
Mr Shoveller added: “Over the past few months, we’ve experienced some of the worst storms in many decades. Our passengers and employees have had to deal with some very difficult conditions. As well as working hard day-in, day-out to deliver a better service to our customers, we are committed to protecting the rail network for the future. We are targeting additional investment to reduce the impact of flooding, strengthen embankments and deal more effectively with fallen trees.”