Train operator responds to independent survey of passengers’ views
“THANK YOU” – that’s the message to East Coast train passengers today as a national survey of customers’ opinions sees satisfaction with its services reach a record breaking high level.
In the National Passenger Survey, conducted by independent transport watchdog Passenger Focus, East Coast achieved a 92% overall satisfaction rating – the highest score on this franchise at any time since the survey was first launched in Autumn 1999.
East Coast is marking the good news by offering passengers who follow its Twitter feed, @eastcoastuk, the chance to win one of ten pairs of First Class tickets to make a return journey between any two stations on its route network, simply by retweeting a special message from East Coast from 10.00 onwards on 29 January.
East Coast Managing Director Karen Boswell said: “We are naturally delighted to have reached such a high overall satisfaction rating with our services.
“We want to say thank you to our customers for responding so positively to the many improvements we’ve already made. Our clear message to them and everyone who travels with us is that this is only the beginning.
“The improvements to our stations, particularly at London King’s Cross, have contributed to this impressive vote of confidence in our railway. We still have much more to do, particularly on the punctuality and reliability of our services: recently, we’ve seen severe weather causing problems with Network Rail’s infrastructure – track, signals and overhead power lines.
“When our train service performs reliably, as we saw during the period this survey was carried out, customers rate us more positively. We’re working hard with Network Rail to secure sustained improvements – while our own engineering teams are constantly striving to deliver the most reliable service possible with our existing train fleet.
“Our passengers can look forward to the replacement of our existing diesel High Speed Trains by a completely new train design, the InterCity Express, from 2018. Options for the replacement or refurbishment of our electric trains are actively being considered.”
East Coast’s 92% overall satisfaction rating is three percentage points higher than the 89% average for all long distance train operators.
Other key results from the Autumn 2012 National Passenger Survey, compared with Spring 2012, include:
- A 2 percentage point rise in the proportion of very satisfied customers to 45%
- A 1 percentage point fall in the proportion of dissatisfied customers to 3%
- An 18 percentage point rise in East Coast’s rating for the overall station environment
- A 22 percentage point rise in East Coast’s rating for station facilities and services
- An 18 percentage point rise in East Coast’s rating for upkeep and repair of stations
The £550 million new Western Concourse at London King’s Cross station, officially opened on March 14 last year, was delivered in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It represented the biggest transformation in the station’s 161-year history, and introduced a new steel and glass concourse three times bigger than the facility it replaced.
King’s Cross now features bigger and better information displays, a new East Coast travel centre and First Class Lounge, new shops and restaurants, and better links with Tube and international rail services at St Pancras station. Work to demolish the remaining 1970s structure at the front of the station is progressing well, creating an impressive new piazza and opening up the station’s original architecture of the station to public view.
Elsewhere, £3.3 million has been invested in a new station concourse at Peterborough, opened on 14 November 2012 by Rail Minister Simon Burns MP. The station now has bigger and brighter facilities, including much improved information displays and a safer environment, supported by improved CCTV systems. Work continues to add new platforms and extra track capacity in a Network Rail-led project, due for completion later in the year.
The National Passenger Survey also highlights areas for action, including exterior cleanliness and general upkeep of trains. All survey scores relating to East Coast’s trains are equal to, or higher than, six months ago – and East Coast is rated higher than the long distance operator average for 16 out of 19 measures.
Other results showed a two percentage point improvement in East Coast’s value for money rating – and passengers rated East Coast 13 points higher than the long distance average for how the operator deals with delays.