Complaints fall at most of UK’s train operators

Marion Dakers
COMPLAINTS about Britain’s trains fell sharply in the three months to the end of September, which the regulator hailed yesterday as part of a long-term decline in passenger grievances.

Train operators got 26 complaints for every 100,000 customers in the quarter, down 19 per cent on a year ago, the Office of Rail Regulation said. In the whole year to the end of September, there were 31 complaints per 100,000, representing a 10.2 per cent drop on last year.

The watchdog said passengers are reporting 73.2 per cent fewer complaints than they were a decade ago, and all except two train operators – London Midland and South West – have seen a decrease in complaints each year since 2007.

Over the year, complaints fell at 11 operators and rose at eight. Aviva Trains Wales suffered the biggest rise, coinciding with a drop in punctuality.

East Coast and Virgin Trains, the major long-haul operators, experienced the highest rates, though both fell on last year.

More than one in three customers complained about late trains in the quarter, followed by 7.4 per cent who spoke up on ticketing and refunds.

Around five per cent of the correspondence recorded as a complaint was categorised as “praise” in the watchdog’s figures.