Transport Focus has today (Thursday 2 July 2020) published the results of the Spring 2020 National Rail Passenger Survey, which was completed before COVID-19 lockdown measures were introduced in March 2020.
Overall satisfaction among Southeastern passengers was 83% - the company’s best ever Spring result, and the 4th consecutive survey to show an improvement. These results follow the Autumn 2019 survey, where Southeastern’s results were the best since 2013.
Passengers on Southeastern Highspeed recorded 91% overall satisfaction – and the train service remains one of best performing in the country.
Significant improvements have been recorded in every attribute related to the on-board experience, including cleanliness (+4%), provision of information (+4%) and the level of crowding (+3%). Satisfaction with on-board security has also significantly improved (+5%), and satisfaction with the attitude and helpfulness of staff on board and at stations has improved by 9% and 2% respectively.
These improvements follow £80 million in investment to improve station facilities, upgrade passenger information systems, enhance the on-board environment, and introduce free WiFi and upgraded smart tickets. Passenger satisfaction has increased by 13% in 4 years as a result, and punctuality on Southeastern has increased by nearly 10% in the last two years alone.
Since being awarded a new franchise contract in March, Southeastern has continued to provide essential transport services throughout this time of national crisis. The train operator has introduced an enhanced cleaning regime, with daily disinfection of high touch points on trains and periodic deep cleaning with antiviral products. On-board toilet availability has been maintained at around 98% to ensure handwashing facilities are available.
During the course of the new franchise contract Southeastern will deliver a range of further customer experience improvements including the planned introduction of 30 x modern, air-conditioned Class 707 trains from South Western Railway, only when they become available.
A Southeastern spokesperson said:
“We know these results come at a time when the whole country is focused on tackling COVID-19. At Southeastern, we’re committed to keeping our stations and trains as safe and clean as possible for passengers, and we’ll continue to offer the best possible service in these uncertain times. We’d particularly like to thank our staff for their hard work over the past few months.
“In 2019 we introduced the improved Delay Repay 15 compensation scheme, and we've invested £80m in improvements including refurbished stations, measures to improve train punctuality and upgraded passenger information systems. We’ll continue to improve passengers’ experience while travelling with us, and our new franchise contract includes measures to further boost capacity with modern, air-conditioned rolling stock, when the trains become available”