Which? Magazine on Train Companies - Virgin is best

Status
Not open for further replies.

PaxVobiscum

Established Member
Joined
4 Feb 2012
Messages
2,382
Location
Glasgow
A 'survey of over 4000 customers' in the April 2012 issue reveals Virgin coming top of the table with an 'overall customer satisfaction rating' of 64% and South Eastern bottom at 40%.

Doubtless this will get picked up by the media in a day or two, but one I noticed was First ScotRail at 54%, contrasting markedly with the National Passenger Survey results of 89% quoted in the March/April edition of Insight magazine.

I tend to find the Consumer's Association have their own slant on things and am inclined to take their views with a little sodium chloride (which apparently is extremely bad for my health).
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
Whilst I don't disagree with the findings, I'd like to know who these 4000 passengers were. My guess is 90% of people who travel by rail in the UK only experience their local operator or two for the vast majority of their journeys. How on earth people are meant to make a decent comparison I don't know.
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
Whilst I don't disagree with the findings, I'd like to know who these 4000 passengers were. My guess is 90% of people who travel by rail in the UK only experience their local operator or two for the vast majority of their journeys. How on earth people are meant to make a decent comparison I don't know.
But why is that an different to the national rail survey which is asking about your feelings on one train?

I did the which survey? I cant remember all the questions but I would have answered about Scotrail. As the survey was the opinions of the whole year they would have scored lower than the on the train survey as i could include the shambles they are when the service is disrupted. Has anyone ever got a survey from national rail when the trains are disrupted?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You will also have a bit of IC operators scoring better because the journeys on them tend to be optional and commuter franchises scoring lower as thier users have no choice. This survey was done in the winter so most of us commuters will have some serious disruption in our minds.
 

PaxVobiscum

Established Member
Joined
4 Feb 2012
Messages
2,382
Location
Glasgow
Whilst I don't disagree with the findings, I'd like to know who these 4000 passengers were. My guess is 90% of people who travel by rail in the UK only experience their local operator or two for the vast majority of their journeys. How on earth people are meant to make a decent comparison I don't know.
This is probably a bit naughty, but from the which website:

Virgin Trains tops first ever Which? train survey
Survey finds mixed picture for rail services across the country


Virgin Trains has topped the table with a score of 64% in the first ever Which? survey of train companies.

For the first time, Which? has surveyed train passengers to find out what they think of the train companies they use.

Mixed results for train companies

Survey satisfaction scores ranged from 64% for top-rated company Virgin Trains to 40% for bottom-ranked Southeastern.

Commuter companies generally received lower scores than train companies carrying a higher proportion of leisure passengers.

But commuter carrier c2c bucked this trend and achieved the second highest-score overall, at 61%.

Which? asked passengers about key issues of train travel, including punctuality, cleanliness, room for passengers, catering and value for money.

1,844 train journeys

Separately, Which? asked members of its Which? Connect panel what they thought of their train journeys between November 2011 and January 2012.

Which? received responses relating to 1,844 journeys.

Punctuality and cleanliness were vital for passengers to be content with their travel experience.

Beyond that, factors such as good staff or poor food could sway people to feeling more or less positive about their journey.

But the majority were left unmoved after their journey - 56% felt the same about their train company afterwards.

Positive response to East Coast

20% felt less positive than before they'd taken their journey. But almost as many - 18% - felt more positive.

One passenger commented that their first train journey for many years was 'very easy and stress free.'

East Coast was most likely to leave passengers feeling more positive about it as a result of their experience with the company whereas London Midland was most likely to leave them feeling less positive.

The Which? survey paints a mixed picture of the service provided by train companies, with some passengers experiencing overcrowding, erratic punctuality and poor value for money.
Which has asked for readers' views train travel at www.which.co.uk/trainviews
 

Schnellzug

Established Member
Joined
22 Aug 2011
Messages
2,926
Location
Evercreech Junction
Mind you, given some of the comments, I do wonder whether how many of them really know what they're talking about. Prize example:
My wife and I live in Ledbury, and my wife has reason to travel to London every other month.
From our town she catches a train to Worcester, then Virgin train to Paddington – this is a First Great Western line, but most long distance trains are operated by Virgin ???
The trains are delayed/cancelled every other trip – on one trip when they had left Paddington it was diverted to Cheltenham, and told a coach woeuld be waiting to take the passengers on to their destinations.
On arrival at Cheltenham the staff new nothing about it.
My wife says the trains are dirty, usually too cold or too hot (often the air cooling simply isn’t working).
A cup of coffee (when available) has recently gone up to over £2.00.
Virgin top operator – not in our book !!!!!
?
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,593
Location
Liskeard
Do virgin even go near worcestor or cheltenham, as I didn't think they did since arriva took over xc?

Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk
 

sprinterguy

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2010
Messages
10,547
Location
Macclesfield
Do virgin even go near worcestor or cheltenham, as I didn't think they did since arriva took over xc?
Nope, there's no Virgin involvement down that neck of the woods any more. Even more bizarrely, that comment which Schnellzug has pointed out would seemingly be referring to the Cotswolds line which is operated by First Great Western, so it's not even a case of someone mistaking XC for the former Virgin operation.
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,593
Location
Liskeard
I didn't read that properly to see they take virgin to paddington, obviously they've voted virgin as poor when they should of voted fgw poor...

Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk
 
Joined
28 Feb 2009
Messages
154
Yes, I'm constantly dismayed by how many passengers cant tell which train company's train they are using/have used, even when the name is painted clearly on the side of each coach.
 

DownSouth

Established Member
Joined
10 Dec 2011
Messages
1,545
So really, we can tell from this is that brand awareness is the highest for Virgin!

The next question is whether people mistaking their operator for Virgin makes Virgin's score better or worse. In the case of the FGW passenger there, the increased brand awareness is a potential burden for Virgin.


As for the survey in general, it would seem that the method needs to be fine tuned. As much as the rail industry already have their own methods for determining customer satisfaction, it's probably a good thing for more independent surveys to be done as well rather than trusting exclusively industry insiders to control the gathering and manipulation of that data. But the thing that you can't forget is that consumer advocate organisations carry their own [usually slightly negative] bias, so while they may be closer to independent than an industry group they are still not fully independent.

The example of ScotRail being rated at 54% while the 'official' rating is 89% shows why a more independent survey could be useful. Even if the negative bias is equal and opposite to the industry survey's positive bias, that would still make the average of the two 71.5%. The industry-generated 'official' figure for Scotrail is closer to the voting percentages of Iraqis who supposedly supported Saddam Hussein than it is to the average of two different surveys, this should be of concern to those who rely on the industry-generated figures.
 

MidnightFlyer

Veteran Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
12,846
Yes, I'm constantly dismayed by how many passengers cant tell which train company's train they are using/have used, even when the name is painted clearly on the side of each coach.
Unless you're on unbranded stock (as has been bouncing around East Anglia for the past year), or split services, like SE services at Bat & Ball using FCC-liveried trains. ;)
 

SS4

Established Member
Joined
30 Jan 2011
Messages
8,474
Location
Birmingham
The trouble is as soon as you do a survey you introduce bias - whether that's selection bias from the people/questions you pick (including the number thereof), confirmation bias from misleading questions or even down to funding bias. A good survey will minimize any bias.

This is before we get onto the interpretation of results, especially those with free text and it is not clear what they are saying . Someone saying a service is neither good nor bad can be excluded from both groups misleading the statistics (85% of people thought the service wasn't bad)

Basically survey statistics is a minefield even before we get ill-informed or biased responses from people :lol:
 

Kingsbury Jn.

Member
Joined
13 Aug 2010
Messages
131
Location
Kingsbury, Warwickshire
I didn't read that properly to see they take virgin to paddington, obviously they've voted virgin as poor when they should of voted fgw poor...

Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk
I have just been on the Which site to leave a comment pointing out their error. Not that it will make any difference. A train is a train is a train to some people.:roll:
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,397
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
Yes, I'm constantly dismayed by how many passengers cant tell which train company's train they are using/have used, even when the name is painted clearly on the side of each coach.
Why dismay?
What significance does the brand carry that a passenger should be concerned about? Surely its the functional details of a product that matter to the consumer / passenger, and not its brand.

A train is a train is a train to some people.:roll:
It is. Its also the train that travels on a particular route at a certain time. I can think of many other products or services whose brand doesn't interest me, but where I do care about other properties such as convenience, comfort, availability, reliability, taste, price etc.

Where two or more TOCs offer services on the same route, I may have preferences of one over the other, but the 'brand' is only a convenient short-hand to differentiate them, and I know that the franchise will someday be awarded to another company, still operating the same trains, on the same routes, with the same staff and probably with similar prices and policies. No wonder some regular travellers faced with multiple operators will still refer to them by the name of a previous operator (eg Virgin Cross Country, Silverlink, GNER or Thameslink).
 
Last edited:

VTPreston_Tez

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2012
Messages
1,159
Location
Preston
I'm surprised FCC or Northern didn't come last!
Just a thought, were NXEA or GA on the vote after the recent franchise expiration? I haven't found the link yet and can't be bothered doing a frantic Google search.
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,397
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
The Regulator has just published a rather similar survey: Appeals opened by Passenger Focus or London Travel Watch - table. This lists the number of Complaints received per Quarter, analysed by Operator.

The largest number of complaints were directed towards East Coast, followed by South West Trains then followed closely by South Eastern & First Great Western.
In contrast to the Which? survey, Virgin Trains were not far behind.

There were NO complaints directed towards Wrexham and Shropshire in any quarter as far back as Q4 of 2009.
The lowest number of complaints (other than W&S) were towards Mersey Rail, whose results were close to those of C2C, London Overground and Arriva Trains Wales.
There is not an entry for Gatwick Express because, of course, there is no such Operator as Gatwick Express.


There is further analysis of this data by "category" of complaint for each of the TOCs here : Complaints by category and TOC - table.

To refer to that analysis for the 4 worst performing TOCs in the table above, we find these were the 3 "categories" most complained of:
East Coast - 1. Train Service Performance (39%), 2. Fares, Retailing (21%), 3. Quality on Train (15%)
South West Trains - 1. Fares, Retailing (32%), 2. Train Service Performance (30%), 3. Staff Conduct & Availability (9%)
South Eastern - 1. Train Service Performance (58%), 2. Fares, Retailing (13%), 3. Staff Conduct & Availability (7%)
First Great Western - 1. Train Service Performance (50%), 2. Fares, Retailing (15%), 3. Quality on Train (13%)

The "categories" of complaint (and these categories are interpreted by the Regulator's statisticians) which received the LOWEST number of complaints over the past 4 years were : "Accessibility Issues" (<1%), "Safety & Security" (<1%), "Timetable & Connection issues" (1.5%).
It appears to me that these lowest-scoring categories do not tell us whether the Railways have achieved exemplary performance in these areas or whether the 'complaining public' has the lowest concern for these areas (or anything in between).
 
Last edited:

harz99

Member
Joined
14 Jul 2009
Messages
663
Interesting comments; but 64% - the best - that is awful, hardly something to crow about. In fact in some of the exams and courses I took years ago that % would have been a fail!
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
7,516
Location
Central Belt
I wonder if east coasts high % of compliants is a combination of.

1. The most generous delay repay scheme in the rail industry.
2. The ECMLs ability to self destruct.

If you get money for a 30min delay even if it is outside the control of the industry no wonder they get so many complaints. (that is before the hungry 1st class passengers start ;). )
 

Schnellzug

Established Member
Joined
22 Aug 2011
Messages
2,926
Location
Evercreech Junction
The Regulator has just published a rather similar survey: Appeals opened by Passenger Focus or London Travel Watch - table. This lists the number of Complaints received per Quarter, analysed by Operator.

The largest number of complaints were directed towards East Coast, followed by South West Trains then followed closely by South Eastern & First Great Western.
Which just shows how judging things by the number of Complaints will most probably get a skewed result, since most probably the complaints about "Train Service Performance" were about desruption caused by infrastructure failures (which is probably the most most common thing).
In any case, Passenger Focus are just another forum for Commuters to moan, aren't they. Frankly, I think Which!'d probably be more objective.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top