The rail regulator has released its ‘Measuring up’ consumer report assessing passenger service on our railways. How would you rate your passenger experience?
The Office of Rail and Road’s annual report addresses four areas of the passenger experience – ticket selling, providing passenger information, support for people who need help on their journey, and complaints and compensation handling.
The regulator reports that passenger service is improving, but complaints handling still needs work.
On a daily basis, I face overcrowded and dirty trains – the experience makes Monday mornings pretty grim.
I’m certainly not alone, thousands of you have also told us your stories of train hell and what people have to face isn’t pretty. Overcrowded, dirty, delayed trains and when you try to complain you may well be ignored. At every stage of our journey, it’s clear that improvements are needed and train companies must take action.
We’ve been eager to see what progress the rail industry has made in the regulator’s annual consumer report out today. But in truth, it’s a mixed bag as the rail sector is still dragging its feet on key issues.
With plenty of reasons to complain, complaints have risen 7.5% from 2015-16. And what’s more alarming is the regulator’s report reveals that more than half of people weren’t satisfied with the way their complaints were handled.
One of our rail campaign supporters, Phillip, told us
‘My wife and I have written to complain on a number of occasions. In some cases we have had a response, but on others occasions, nothing.’
Do you think your train company puts you first?
No - I don't think it does (76%, 1,024 Votes)
Sometimes (14%, 195 Votes)
Yes - I've had a good experience with my train company (7%, 89 Votes)
Not sure (3%, 44 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,352
Trains on track
In our view, the need for an ombudsman that all train companies have to sign up to, so complaints can’t be ignored, is stronger than ever.
We know that passengers also still have difficulty finding the best ticket for their journey and getting compensation when their train is delayed. Despite being a Which? employee I still struggle know if I’m getting a fair price for tickets – the way the system works simply isn’t fair.
Although, twelve train companies have now signed up to a voluntary price guarantee which will refund the difference if you could’ve bought a cheaper ticket. This will apply when information given to you is confusing or you didn’t have the right info to purchase the right ticket. So keep an eye out for any refunds you think you might be due!
While we do appreciate that changes are afoot, with activity around ongoing work on the ticketing action plan that we worked on with train companies and the government in December 2016, much more needs to be done to improve services now.
We’re pressing for a strong regulator that is going to drive action right to the end of the track.
Do you feel that enough is being done to improve train services? What more would you like to see?