Rail passengers have voted East Coast as Britain’s number one long-distance franchised train operator in a national survey of customers’ views released today .
East Coast has been awarded a 91% overall satisfaction rating for its service for a record second time in a row in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), which is conducted every six months by independent transport watchdog Passenger Focus.
The news comes as East Coast’s services also continue to achieve best-ever results for reliability for the first three months of the financial year, with an average of 92% of trains arriving on time in April, May and June 2014.
East Coast Managing Director Karen Boswell said: “We’re very proud to have reached a 91% satisfaction rating on a second consecutive occasion, and also to have achieved the top position of any franchised long-distance train operator in Britain. It’s the first time we or any of our predecessors on the East Coast Main Line have achieved this. We’re grateful to all our customers for their encouraging and positive endorsement about the improvements we’ve made over the last four and a half years.
“This result comes as East Coast trains are also breaking new punctuality records*. An average of 92% of our trains reached their destination on time in April, May and June – that’s the best-ever reliability on our route in the first three months of any previous financial year.
“During this period, delays attributable to infrastructure failures, which have for so long hindered our efforts to provide a high quality and reliable service, have fallen to the lowest levels since industry records began almost two decades ago. We know a reliable service is a high priority for our customers, and we’ll continue to work hard with our infrastructure provider Network Rail to build on this positive performance. We’d especially like to thank Network Rail for their efforts in helping to achieve this outcome.
“Station improvements at Peterborough, Wakefield Westgate and, most recently, an £8.6 million redevelopment of Newcastle station are delivering much improved facilities for our customers.
“This month, we’ll complete a new £2 million investment for improvements to our on-board Wi-Fi, across our fleet of trains. Our complimentary First Class food and drinks service is also highly popular with our passengers, as is the newly launched Foodbar, which we recently introduced to provide enhanced on-board catering for our customers on all of our services.”
The NRPS survey awarded an 86% average satisfaction rating to long distance operators, three points fewer than six months ago. East Coast has bucked this trend by achieving its 91% rating.
East Coast’s overall customer satisfaction rating is now at its best level for eight years, compared with the average for all long distance train operators.