Rail passengers do not feel that train companies are “on their side”, according to a new survey of thousands of travellers.
Many passengers do not trust their train company to provide a good day-to-day service nor do they trust them to be truthful, fair or communicate well, the survey from rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus found.
Among the operators working in the region, Northern Rail, which this week faced criticism for introducing plans to restrict the use of some off-peak tickets, fared worst.
Researchers conducted 4,000 online interviews with rail travellers, looking at how passengers trusted their service, their relationship with the train company and its judgement.
The majority of the operators in the region - including Northern Rail, East Coast Mainline , which runs a route from Leeds to London, and First TransPennine - scored negatively for ‘Trust in Service,’ which involved punctuality, reliability, value for money, and helpfulness of staff, with Northern Rail bottom of the Yorkshire operators.
It also came out bottom of the region’s operators for ‘Trust in Relationship’, which measured how honest the operator was thought to be and how it treated customers.
Grand Central, which operates routes from London to Wakefield and Pontefract, had the most positive remarks.
When it came to trusting a company’s judgment, all Yorkshire operators fared positively, with Grand Central rank third from best, with Northern lowest of the Yorkshire operators.
Passenger Focus’s chief executive Anthony Smith said: “It is important for train companies to get the basic service right ahead of everything else. Passengers should feel that train companies are ‘on their side.’”
Northern Rail has announced that from Monday September 8, off-peak tickets will no longer be valid for weekday evening rush-hour journeys on local services in West Yorkshire. Mick Cash, of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said the step was a “savage kick in the teeth” for the travelling public.
Commenting on the survey, Alex Hynes, Northern Rail’s managing director said: “We work hard to get the basics right but building relationships can be a challenge. We are committed to making improvements and this survey gives us a clear indication of where we can do better.”