People think train companies are untrustworthy
News that will shock you to your core, it turns out that people who use trains think that the train companies are not on their side, according to a large survey from customer watchdog Passenger Focus.
So why don't people trust them? Well, the survey showed that many don't trust train companies to provide a decent service, day-to-day. They also don't trust them to tell the truth about anything, or communicate well or generally be fair with anyone.
The survey looked at punctuality/reliability, value for money, problem resolution, helpful staff on trains and helpful staff at stations.
The firms that inspired the least trust were in London and south east England, but that's not good news for the rest of the country's train companies. Grand Central, Merseyrail and ScotRail got reasonably positive scores when it came to service, but Southern, First Great Western and Southeastern were the ones who came off worst.
Regarding trust in relationship (which focused on being truthful, acting with honesty and integrity, building long-term relationships, treating customers fairly and communicating well), the best scorers were Grand Central, Virgin Trains, Merseyrail, Chiltern and ScotRail. Down the bottom were Southern, Southeastern and Northern Rail.
Passenger Focus concluded: "To build greater trust with passengers, it is important not only to deliver a punctual and reliable service but also to build a stronger relationship with passengers, this being based on communicating openly and honestly."
"Most TOCs (train operating companies) can also increase satisfaction by focusing on passenger engagement, as customers do not currently feel that TOCs are 'on their side', acting with their interests at heart. In particular, there is the potential to improve satisfaction by increasing the amount of TOC communication and being proactive, communicating with openness and transparency, particularly when things go wrong."
This survey comes days before the announcement of July's RPI inflation figure, which is the number used to work out how much rail fares will increase next year.
Mick Cash, acting general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "This survey does not surprise us in the slightest. Why would people trust private train companies whose only objective in life is to hack back staffing and services to the bone while whacking up fares for the travelling public in the name of pure and unadulterated greed?"
"Passengers are set to get hit with another inflation-busting fare increase when the figures are announced next Tuesday, while the private operators are laughing all the way to the bank."