Record Thameslink passenger satisfaction put down to general improvement in service

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 20 February 2018

Larry Heyman, Thameslink

Larry Heyman, Thameslink

Peter Alvey

Passenger satisfaction on St Albans trains is at the highest it has ever been, according to new survey figures.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) received an 83 per cent overall satisfaction score in the National Rail Passenger Survey for autumn 2017 - its highest since privatisation.

This is a ten per cent increase on autumn 2016, eight per cent better than Transport for London and two per cent better than Greater Anglia, which operate trains in east Hertfordshire.

GTR local development manager Larry Heyman puts it down to a, a ready supply of qualified drivers, new Class 700 trains with 12 carriages, and better incident response procedures.

He said St Albans is the busiest station on the Thameslink North route by far: “I am glad to say we are in a much better place now than last year.”

Adding: “We are not complacent but I think it’s only right to point out that things have improved and there is still a way to go.”

Building work on station entrances and amenities is expected to start this summer and finish in spring 2019, with the potential of a second footbridge on the cards.

District councillors grilled GTR train bosses on what can be done next for accessibility and affordability at a planning, resources, housing and commercial scrutiny committee last week.

Cllr Robert Donald said: “[My question is about] fare increases, particularly for season ticket holders, because the system is not perfect, there are still aberrations, there are still delays, communication is not always what it should be, the trains are still congested and commuters have had a 32.4 per cent presumably average fare increase.

He said passengers have written in to call it “really far too high and unacceptable”.

Cllr Roma Mills questioned if people who are disabled or with limited mobility, such as pregnant women, could sit in first class on crowded trains.

Mr Heyman said they could not, but more priority seats near exits are built into the Class 700 carriages: “In terms of first class itself, it’s a bit of an emotional thing here because different people have different views, personally I think first class is an anachronism on commuter services.

“I would love to see trains being standard class only if they are for commuters but I think you need to get back to the fact that there is revenue from people who travel first class.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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