New trains help deliver 8% improvement in train satisfaction says new report
New trains have helped drive an 8% improvement in customer satisfaction and a massive 13% rise in satisfaction with train punctuality for train company Great Western Railway.
Customer satisfaction has risen to 86% and an 8% improvement on last year’s autumn results for GWR according to the National Rail Passenger Survey from independent passenger watchdog, Transport Focus.
Surpassing last Autumn’s report, the sustained improvements do not even take into account the biggest timetable change in a generation, which occurred after fieldwork for the report had been completed.
GWR has attributed the figures to the investment in new and upgraded trains, modernised, more reliable infrastructure and the continued hard work of colleagues, as their commitment to deliver improvements for customers begins to pay off.
The company has completed its rollout of two new fleets of trains in the last two years, including its Intercity Express Trains on long distance services and Electrostar trains in the Thames Valley, which have provided around 25% more seats on some routes. Cascaded trains have also added capacity across the West of England and the South West too.
The official figures show customers reported not only an 8% increase in overall satisfaction but a 10% improvement in overall satisfaction with the trains they use, an 8% increase in the frequency of trains, an 8% increase in the availability of staff on trains and 12% increase in the usefulness of information when the company had to deal with delays.
The report shows GWR also improved in the provision of information on board, a key driver of customer satisfaction; the level of crowding and journey length.
GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton said:
“I am delighted that the hard work, by GWR and our industry colleagues is paying off and this is now being recognised by the majority of our customers; many of whom are enjoying the benefit of new trains and much more reliable infrastructure.
“Clearly our work doesn’t stop here, and we continue discussions with the Government on their priorities and focus beyond the end of the current franchise in March.”
“While the last few years has seen a real transformation to the Great Western network, the job is far from over. In December we launched our new timetable providing faster journey times; more seats and more frequent services, and we would like to keep building on that work.”
Fieldwork for the NRPS Autumn 2019 report was conducted during September and October 2019. Since then GWR has implemented the most significant timetable change on its network in a generation.
Grand Central has been voted best long distance operator for the ninth time and best for value for money in a national survey of rail users.
Transport Focus today (28 January) released figures for its twice yearly National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) for Autumn 2019. The National Rail Passenger Survey reveals that Grand Central was the best long distance operator for the ninth time, scoring 94%. The York-based open access operator was also rated best overall for value for money, scoring 75%, compared with a national average of 47% and a long distance average of 56%.
Grand Central has recently completed its £9million Adelante train refurbishment programme, an area which has seen significant increases in satisfaction levels. With regards to train upkeep, there was a 14% year on year increase, with the operator scoring 92% satisfaction. Interior cleanliness rose 11% year on year, with a customer satisfaction level of 94%, and the availability of power sockets saw passenger satisfaction levels increase by 14% year on year to 87%.
Richard McClean, Managing Director at Grand Central, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that once again we’ve been named as the number one long distance train company in the country with a score of 94% and to be rated best for overall value for money at 75%.
“What matters to our customers matters to us – a good service at a good price. We’re proud of our track record and our commitment to customer experience, but we can always do more to deliver more benefits for our passengers and great quality services at the heart of communities we serve.
“We have just completed the £9million refurbishment of our entire fleet of trains. We’re also bringing additional services to our North East route and will launch our new route from Blackpool to Euston in Spring 2020.
“Together with investments in online systems and our £2.6million station investment programme across our North East and West Riding routes, we’re confident that our customers will continue to see improving benefits to travelling on our services.”
Grand Central, part of the Arriva group, is an established train operator which provides direct rail connections between towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East and London.
To find out more about Grand Central, please visit www.grandcentralrail.com or follow the railway company on Twitter @GC_Rail, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Class 390 model Pendolino made to mark the launch of the train operator last year
Money raised will go to charity Action for Children
Model train enthusiasts will have the chance to get their hands on history by bidding for the very first Hornby Avanti West Coast Pendolino.
Sporting the new livery, the money raised will go towards Action for Children. Bids can be made via the charity’s eBay site on https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193321784989. The auction is live and ends on 7 February.
Mounted on a wooden plinth, the Class 390 model Pendolino comprises of a leading carriage and one trailer carriage. The opening price is £249.99.
Action for Children is the employee chosen charity of Avanti West Coast’s co-owner FirstGroup, and proceeds from the sale will go towards their partnership, which provides mental health support for vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the UK.
As the new livery gradually appears on trains across the Avanti West Coast network, Hornby are taking pre-orders for the model versions. They are expected to be available from December 2020.
Richard Scott, Partnership and Strategy Director at Avanti West Coast, said: “This marks the start of Avanti West Coast’s partnership with this very worthy cause. We are very much looking forward to working with Action for Children and this fabulous auction will hopefully kick off lots of fundraising in the coming months.”
Ermelinda Ceci, Senior Corporate Development Executive, Action for Children, said: “We’re so excited to be working with Avanti West Coast as part of our partnership with FirstGroup. Auctioning this incredible model train set will mean that our partnership, which supports young people on their journey to better mental health, will be able to help even more children have a safe and happy childhood.”