Great Northern operator Govia Thameslink comes joint bottom in Which? survey – but did they just inherit a poor service?

Planned re-organisation of railway staff could cause carnage, a rail union says, as ticket offices a

Planned re-organisation of railway staff could cause carnage, a rail union says, as ticket offices are downgraded but the franchise operator says the changes will in fact mean the stations are staffed for longer. - Credit: Archant

The train service taking North Herts commuters to London and Cambridge has some of the least satisfied passengers in the UK, according to a survey released today – in stark contrast to another poll last month which said most users were happy.

The survey released today by consumer group Which? indicates that rail passengers on Great Northern and Thameslink – which are both operated by Govia Thameslink – are among the worst served in the UK, with a joint satisfaction score of 46 per cent.

The fifth annual Which? rail satisfaction survey ranked Great Northern – which calls at stations including Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock – joint bottom of the pile for availability of seating, availibility and cleanliless of toilets, cleanliness of carriages, reliability, frequency, puncutality and value for money.

The results come in stark contrast to the National Rail Passenger Survey released by Transport Focus on January 27, which reported that 84 per cent of Great Northern users were satisfied with the journey.

A Govia spokesman said: “The Which? Survey of fewer than 1,200 passenger journeys has to be seen in the context of the 1.1 million passenger journeys made on Govia every weekday.

“The recent National Rail Passenger Survey showed a much higher satisfaction rate. However, what both surveys show is there is still much to do to meet our passengers’ expectations.”

Roger Smith, chairman of the Hitchin Rail User Group, said: “I think Govia inherited a poor service and they’re doing what they can to improve it.

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“A lot of the problems are actually down to the engineering work around London Bridge that is the responsibility of National Rail – so one has to take these statistics with a pinch of salt.

“There’s plenty to look forward to. In 2018 we are looking at a complete revolution – when the redevelopment of London Bridge is finished we’ll see four fast trains an hour from Hitchin instead of two.”

Roger added that the HRUG was due to hold discussions with the Great Northern customer service boss Angie Palmer on Wednesday evening.

The full results of the Which? survey can be seen here.

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