Northern Rail rated bottom of region’s passenger satisfaction league

tis. Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.
tis. Commuters wait to board the train to Leeds at Harrogate Train Station. GS2102081b.

Northern Rail has been criticised for the cleanliness of its toilets and the overall condition of its trains in a report by consumer association Which?

Commuters on the Leeds-Harrogate-York using Northern Rail were part of Which?’s annual satisfaction survey which scored train companies based on the responses of over 7.300 train travellers.

When asked about their journeys over the last 12 months, 490 Northern Rail customers gave the company an average customer score of 49 per cent, three per cent under the average.

Northern Rail finished bottom of the region’s passenger satisfaction league with the six lowest scoring train operators being some of the biggest, covering commuter networks in the South East network around London.

As well as toilet cleanliness and overall condition, the train companies were also judged on seating availability, frequency, punctuality, reliability and value for money.

The report also found that 28 per cent of Northern Rail passengers experienced a delay on their last journey, with Southern passengers topping the table with 39 per cent suffering setbacks.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “Long delays and consistently low levels of customer service are driving commuters to distraction.

“Passengers often have little or no choice as to the rail companies they travel with, so as ticket prices continue to rocket, more must be done to improve customers’ satisfaction and to inform people of their right to a refund as a result of delays.”

While Northern Rail refused to comment on the Which? survey, the train company provided a statement prepared by the Rail Delivery Group.

A spokesperson said: “The timetable is our promise to passengers. While almost nine out ten trains now arrive on schedule, we are investing billions of pounds so we make good on that promise more often and improve passengers’ satisfaction with our services.

“Compensation payments are increasingly generous and easy to apply for and are made regardless of the cause of a delay. This is why, despite improving punctuality, £10m more was paid to passengers under the Delay Repay this year than compared to last.”

East Coast, which becomes Virgin Trains East Coast in 2015 and serves Harrogate customers commuting to London, finished joint fourth in the list of customer satisfaction.

The train company had 62 per cent customer satisfaction results, scoring particularly well in the availability of seating, carriage cleanliness and reliability.