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First Capital Connect passenger satisfaction score rises for third year running

Tuesday 29 January 2013

News image.


Latest results of a survey by industry rail watchdog Passenger Focus show that overall satisfaction with First Capital Connect (FCC) services has grown for the third year in a row.



Of those customers surveyed in autumn 2012, 81% said they were satisfied or very satisfied (a 1% increase year on year, which is in line with the national increase) and 13% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Just 6% expressed dissatisfaction. In autumn 2009 the satisfaction level stood at 75%.


First Capital Connect Managing Director Neal Lawson said:


“We are pleased to have registered improvements in autumn passenger satisfaction for the third year running. In particular, investment is paying off in satisfaction with punctuality and journey times, the attitudes and helpfulness of our staff, the security of our services and the overall station environment.


“However, we recognise we have more to do, particularly in the area of dealing with delays. Only yesterday we launched a new free bespoke text and email service telling customers about rail disruption. We have retained our successful customer support centre opened for the Olympics and our Twitter service now operates around the clock offering one-to-one journey advice.


“The lack of room to sit or stand is also an issue for our customers, despite the addition of 22% and 29% more seats on each of our two routes during this franchise. This demonstrates the importance of the capacity-boosting Thameslink Programme, the final phase of which will double peak time capacity in central London from 2018.”


FCC registered improvements year-on-year in 23 of the 34 individual scores that made up its overall result, while eight stayed the same and three fell, although FCC attributes much of the reductions to a spate of graffiti attacks at the time which have now been addressed by police action and an investment in new cleaning equipment.



Punctuality and journey time


Another notable improvement in satisfaction was with the attitudes and helpfulness of staff which rose four points to 71% reflecting the success of a customer service training programme for all 900 frontline staff and the cleanliness of stations that increased five points, to 75%. Satisfaction with the overall station environment went up by six points to 71%, recognising the company’s ‘Better stations for you’ investment in station facilities.


Passengers’ satisfaction with personal security went up seven points to 72%. This is a reflection of FCC’s funding of extra British Transport Police and 1,500 new CCTV cameras which have together earned all 73 stations ‘Secure Station’ accreditation and cut reported crime by 41% in the past five years.


Satisfaction with connections with other forms of transport has risen by 7% to 79%, reflecting the doubling of cycle parking spaces across the network and the successful promotion of joint rail and bus tickets.


However, only 61% of people said there was enough room to sit or stand despite FCC having added 22% and 29% more seats on its two routes during the franchise. This demonstrates the importance of the capacity-boosting Thameslink Programme, the final phase of which will double peak time capacity in central London from 2018.


How well FCC deals with delays has not changed and remains low at 33%. The company says this is disappointing but expects an improvement after yesterday’s launch of a new free bespoke text and email service for rail disruption. It has retained a successful customer support centre that was opened for the Olympics and its Twitter service now operates around the clock offering one-to-one journey advice.


Ends


satisfaction scores were both up 4% (to 81% and 87% respectively) – the latter thought to reflect the reopening of the central London section of the Bedford to Brighton/Wimbledon Thameslink route at night and weekends in May 2012 after 3.5 years of sustained engineering work.

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