Southern and First Capital Connect below par in passenger satisfaction
- Published: Monday, 17 February 2014 17:25
Both Southern and First Capital Connect train companies scored below 50% in the latest passenger satisfaction survey by Which? magazine.
The Brighton Main Line on which Haywards Heath sits is the only route served by both train operating companies. Out of 19 companies, Southern scored an overall satisfaction of 46% whilst First Capital Connect came 17th with 41%.
The survey also split out commuter services for eight of the train companies with Southern getting an overall satisfaction score of 40% and First Capital Connect on 37%.
Both companies scored two out of five for both punctuality and room for passengers, and three out of five for frequency.
First Capital Connect fell down on cleanliness and value for money with only one out of five and gained two out of five for reliability.
Southern scored three out of five for cleanliness and reliability and two out of five for value for money.
Interestingly, London Overground outshone both companies with overall commuter satisfaction of 59% and higher rankings in cleanliness, punctuality, room for passengers and value for money.
An annual season ticket from Haywards Heath to London Terminals now costs £3,504 with First Capital Connect and £4,032 from Southern. In comparison, an annual season from Horsham is £3,788 and from Uckfield £2,748. Both of which are similar distances from the capital although Uckfield admittedly has a less frequent service which takes longer.
The Brighton Main Line is one of the most overcrowded rail routes in the country and has numerous pinchpoints such as Balcombe Tunnel and Balcombe Viaduct which make adding more trains or double-decker trains financially unviable. For years the only "solution" to overcrowding has been to price people off the line and cope with increasing maintenance and emergency work.
A solution for capacity and alternative routing for the Brighton Main Line is required to justify high ticket prices.