THE boss of East Anglia’s rail network has admitted they have not done enough on improving services.
Andrew Chivers, National Express East Anglia’s managing director, made the admission after the Passenger Focus watchdog rated the franchise as giving the worst value for money as well as being lowest for overall satisfaction and punctuality.
With 84 per cent of rail customers nationally satisfied with the service, just 77 per cent of NEEA customers were happy. Only 33 per cent felt they got value for money, though even the best operator only managed 78 per cent.
NEEA punctuality only pleased 77 per cent, which was on a par with London’s First Capital Connect and well below top firm, Mersey Rail, at 95 per cent.
Its stations only satisfied 74 per cent, which was just two per cent better than the lowest Arriva. Chiltern was best at 90 per cent.
But NEEA beat eight of the 23 franchisees on providing sufficient room on its trains, pleasing 67 per cent.
In response to the results, Mr Chivers said: “We’re obviously disappointed with the overall customer satisfaction rating for autumn 2011 which has declined slightly on the previous survey.
“We have been determined to improve customer satisfaction in our eight years running this railway, and, while they are higher than when we started, they have not increased by as much as we had hoped.
“We’re encouraged by some of the improvement the survey reports in areas such as availability and comfort of seating on trains. These results reflect the recent completion of our £185 million investment programme. We believe this investment, including the recent improvements completed at Bury St. Edmunds, will help improve customer satisfaction.”
John Drake, chairman of Mid Anglia Rail Passengers’ Association, welcomed that investment and said: “If there wasn’t an improvement on room in the trains I would be surprised.”
He felt many complaints centred on the London to Norwich main line but on value he said: “Fares have been going up and people are annoyed about that. Britain has some of the highest rails fares in Europe.”