Govia Thameslink finishes bottom for overall satisfaction in National Passenger Survey

Thameslink train

Thameslink train - Credit: Archant

Govia Thameslink has been named the worst rail company for overall satisfaction in the annual National Passenger Survey.

The firm, which has St Albans City station as its biggest footfall outside of London, received the lowest percentage of all operators surveyed in Autumn 2015 with 73% customer approval.

The annual investigation into how happy commuters are with their daily rail journey was conducted by Transport Focus and questioned over 28,000 passengers.

Despite scoring relatively highly with travellers for journey length (77%), train connections (75%) and security on board (73%), Thameslink scored poorly in areas regarding employee helpfulness and attitude (35%) and dealing with delays (25%). Only 13% of customers were satisfied by the availability of staff, the same score as in the 2014 survey.

The company was also marked for the facilities at its stations and saw a similar level of dissatisfaction from its users.

Available seating (45%), eating and drinking opportunities (41%) and car parking spaces (38%) caused most frustration and all three areas were even less popular than 12 months previously.

Overall satisfaction (75%), information boards about train times (78%) and connections with other forms of transport pleased customers of Govia Thameslink in 2015, though all three scores were down on 12 months ago.

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Thameslink were joined in the bottom three by fellow Govia-run franchise Southeastern (75% overall satisfaction) and Southern (78%), which itself is run by the Govia Thameslink railway group.

In light of the survey’s findings, a spokesman for Thameslink said: “We know punctuality was particularly poor at the time of this survey, making life difficult for our passengers.

“Many of those delays were outside our control such as lorries hitting one particular low railway bridge in Tulse Hill (above) no less than seven times, causing 125 cancellations and delaying trains by over 3,500 minutes.”

“But we will redouble our efforts to improve punctuality, with Network Rail making track, signalling and other systems more dependable and GTR bringing in new, more reliable trains on Thameslink this spring and still more drivers.

The company was also keen to stress the impact that building work at London Bridge, which is due to be completed in Spring 2018, had had on the service:

It said: “Increased passenger demand and essential improvement work at London Bridge has made any problems four times more difficult to recover from, as there is simply less room for the huge number of trains we run every day.

“However, when this work is finished, our services will be transformed for passengers with greater connectivity and more capacity to, from and through the heart of London.”

Last week, Thameslink officially opened a new eight-track sidings at Cricklewood, which will help to service new trains being introduced to the St Albans branch of the line later this year.