Train fares still not value for money
Passengers across the country have had their say – rail fares are still too expensive. Coughing up the price of a train ticket doesn’t match the service we get.
It’s just another survey, but an impressive 31,000 answered, so we better give it a gander. Over half the folk questioned by consumer watchdog Passenger Focus don’t think train tickets represent value for money. Unsuprisingly it’s commuters that feel the most ripped off – they fork out on ridiculously expensive peak-time tickets to travel on a heaving train 10 times a week.
Last year we found similar results. Two thirds of rail staff didn’t offer us the cheapest fare and the price quoted was often double the cheapest option. No wonder we’re disatisfied.
Then again, my local station master has not only given me the cheapest fare in the past, he’s loaned me money for a ticket when I was short of cash. Naturally, this personal service is very rare, but there were some glimmers of hope in the survey too.
Satisfaction with train journeys up
Rail fare satisfaction was actually up by a respectable 8% compared to spring 2009, likely due to most fares being frozen in January. Next year will be a different story, though prices are expected to rise thanks to this year’s high retail price index. Just brilliant.
As far as individual rail companies faired, the London Overground and First Capital Connect (FCC) wallow at the bottom of the pile. Again, in sync with our results, just last month we found FCC selling first class tickets for trains that didn’t even have the expected premium seats.
Why’s our train delayed?
So what most annoys passengers when they travel by train? Apparently it’s the inept rail staff who fail to tell us why our train’s delayed. Passenger Focus’ chief exec Anthony Smith calls this the industry’s “Achilles’ heel”.
We’re frustrated when we don’t know what’s going on, even though we should be told after just a two minute delay. Otherwise we’re just left in the cold without a clue, holding a high-priced ticket to nowhere.
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