Southern awarded yet another 'most moaned about rail firm' gong

If you want good trains, go to Hull

Grumbling Brit commuters are more likely to moan about Southern than any other train line, according to the latest national passenger survey (PDF) from the UK's transport watchdog.

Southern retained its top spot for most dissatisfied passengers in Transport Focus's survey of more than 27,000 passengers – a fact that will come as little surprise to commuters in the South East.

The train line received the lowest rating for overall satisfaction of 72 per cent (yes, that much!), followed by Thameslink with 75 per cent, Great Northern with 79 per cent, and Southeastern and Great Western Railway, which both scored 81 per cent.

The highest satisfaction scores were achieved by Hull Trains and Heathrow Express, both on 97 per cent.

Nationally the percentage of passengers satisfied with their journey overall was 83 per cent, up from 80 per cent last Spring.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, noted that passengers using services in London and the South East have seen an improvement with an increase in overall satisfaction from 79 per cent last year to 82 per cent this year.

"Having said that, there is some way to go to reach a more acceptable position. Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Southeastern have the lowest scores. These green shoots are fragile and need nurturing," he added.

"This recovery will be under pressure from upgrade works, industrial relationship problems and rising passenger numbers. So the industry needs to keep a relentless, ongoing focus on performance and reliability."

Earlier this year, Southern came under fire from the Transport Select Committee over ongoing industrial action due to a long-running dispute. But it also called on the Department for Transport to address issues such as "inadequate planning, inaccurate assumptions and weak performance incentives" on the franchise.

It said that given the exposure of the taxpayer to the failings of the franchise, it was "unacceptable for the Department to maintain its current 'arms-length' approach". ®

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