Yorkshire rail users put focus on packed carriages

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RAIL BOSSES have pledged to raise their game after passengers in Yorkshire delivered a withering verdict on the state of some of their services.

In a major survey carried out by independent watchdog organisation Passenger Focus, the proportion of Northern Rail customers who rated their journey as satisfactory or good was just 78 per cent.

Passengers queuing at Leeds Station

Passengers queuing at Leeds Station

That figure was the second lowest for any operator in the country, with only Southern (76 per cent) faring worse.

One hot topic for Northern passengers was overcrowding, with just 66 per cent saying the amount of room on its services was satisfactory or good. Another local operator, First TransPennine Express (FTPE), performed even worse on overcrowding, achieving a satisfaction rating of 58 per cent when it came to the amount of room for passengers – the lowest figure in the country.

FTPE today acknowledged “crowding and sufficient space” had been highlighted as an area where travellers wanted improvements and said it was addressing the issue by investing £60m in 40 new carriages.

Northern managing director Alex Hynes, meanwhile, said he was pleased that his firm’s overall satisfaction rating was three per cent up on its showing in a Passenger Focus survey that was conducted in spring last year.

Mr Hynes went on: “We are listening and responding to customers and have more plans in the pipeline for this year.”

Other overall satisfaction ratings for local operators included 95 per cent for Grand Central and 91 per cent for East Coast.

Karen Boswell, managing director at East Coast, said the result had left her team “very proud and pleased”. Overall satisfaction among the survey respondents with rail services nationwide stood at 83 per cent.

Passenger Focus acting chief executive, David Sidebottom, said: “There are gaps of around 20 per cent between the best and worst-performing services, and satisfaction with value for money varied from 28 to 82 per cent.

“Although generally satisfaction has remained fairly high over the last five years, we want to see a more consistently high level of service for passengers, wherever they may be travelling to and from.”

Passenger Focus interviewed nearly 30,000 rail users as it conducted the survey last autumn.

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