Transport Focus have released their Autumn 2018 passenger satisfaction survey. Overall 78% of Southeastern customers were satisfied with their last journey.
Southeastern are featuring the finding that the overall satisfaction has risen 3 percentage points since Spring 2018. But that looks like a bit of positive spin. The Spring 2018 score was 2 percentage points down on the Autumn 2017. And Transport Focus say that neither the previous decrease nor the new increase are significant. (The sample size was 1463, so the margin of error is around +/-3%.) In reality overall customer satisfaction is little changed over a year and still too low.
Transport Focus also measure customer satisfaction on 40 specific aspects of the journey. Strangely on 36 out of these 40 aspects satisfaction was less than 78% – including toilets at stations (51% – 10 points down in the last year), toilets on trains (41% – but at least 11 points up over the last year, as Southeastern have resumed emptying them), and how Southeastern deal with delays (40%).
On the positive side, satisfaction is higher than 78% on provision of information at stations, how requests to station staff was handled, the length of time the journey was scheduled to take (actually a Network Rail measure), and the overall satisfaction with the station.
Even on the overall score, Southeastern are still well short of what Transport for London achieve on London Overground – 85% overall customer satisfaction. If the Secretary of State had not blocked the transfer of Southeastern Metro to TfL, we in the Sevenoaks area could be enjoying that – and Southeastern would have some direct competitive pressure to improve customer satisfaction mainline services.
In short, customer satisfaction has not significantly improved over the last year, despite the end of the London Bridge works, many aspects of the journey are still falling well short of what customers expect, and other transport operators are achieving better results with the same Victorian infrastructure. Southeastern should not be getting out the champagne yet!