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East Coast and Grand Central ahead in passenger satisfaction survey
THE two York-based train operators who provide the York to London service are jubilant after scoring very high marks in the latest passenger satisfaction survey.
East Coast said its 92 per cent overall satisfaction rating in the National Passenger Survey was the highest score for the East Coast Main Line franchise at any time since the survey was launched in 1999.
The other firm, Grand Central, said its 96 per cent rating in the survey, conducted by independent transport watchdog Passenger Focus, made it the UK’s highest-rated train operator for customer satisfaction.
Karen Boswell, managing director of East Coast, thanked customers for responding so positively to many improvements which the organisation had already made.
“Our clear message to them and everyone who travels with us is that this is only the beginning,” she said.
“The improvements to our stations, particularly at London King’s Cross, have contributed to this impressive vote of confidence in our railway. We still have much more to do, particularly on punctuality and reliability.
"Recently, we’ve seen severe weather causing problems with Network Rail’s infrastructure – track, signals and overhead power lines.”
Richard McClean, Grand Central’s managing director, said: “We’re happy when our passengers are happy.”
However, he knew there were specific areas where the company needed to improve what it did.
“Passengers have also told us that they want more frequent services and we’ll continue to work towards extending our timetable to and from London throughout 2013.”
Another York-based company, First TransPennine Express, which runs services from York to Scarborough and cities such as Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, scored an 89 per cent overall satisfaction rate on the route, which was up by four per cent.
Managing director Nick Donovan said its satisfaction rating since 2004 had improved by 14 per cent which reflected its investment in station facilities, trains and staff development. “Our trains are more reliable than ever before,” he said.
But Ian Bevan, managing director of another York operator, Northern Rail, said he was disappointed that the number of satisfied passengers on his trains had fallen slightly, from 83 to 80 per cent, year on year.
“We know that the punctuality of trains is one of the key concerns for our passengers and during the survey period our services were affected by exceptional weather,” he said.
“Since then, we have been working hard to recover performance to levels our passengers rightly expect.”