Rail commuters in Portsmouth express frustrations with service following national survey

RAIL commuters in Portsmouth have expressed frustrations with the services they use following a national survey into passenger satisfaction on trains.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 1:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:37 pm
Rail dissatisfaction. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Transport Focus’ latest National Rail Passenger Survey revealed dwindling satisfaction with more than one in five passengers (21 per cent) not happy.

With worsening punctuality, the timetable chaos last summer, and lamentable strikes, passengers are less happy than at any time since 2008, the rail passenger watchdog said today. About 25,000 passengers were questioned for the study.

South Western Railway, the largest operator in the region, is one of the companies where satisfaction levels have plummeted following recent strike action and train delays.

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The company had a satisfaction level of 83 per cent in 2016 but now has just 73 per cent.

Rail users in Portsmouth have largely reflected the dissatisfaction from the survey.

Twinkal Limbarchia, 21, who studies media at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘People get really annoyed by the fact they have to make three or four different changes - it's constant running around. 

'I'm quite new to the train situation so it's a bit of a struggle, but they need to make it so people don't get confused. Make trains direct, that's it.' 

Ayo Adesima, in his 50s, works for NHS England, said: ‘It's a mode of transport I use frequently because I move around the South East a lot. 

'South Western Railway seems to be alright for me, but Southern is terrible - the complete opposite. It's always late. 

'The only issue I tend to have when I'm travelling on South Western Railway, particularly from Southampton to Bath, is that it can be very crowded and I can't get a seat.' 

He added: 'There are some routes which I believe need to have more carriages. Sometimes you go on some routes and they have many, many carriages and others have few. 

'By now the railway service should know the level of flow they get at different times of the day. That will then give them the opportunity to provide more carriages for the busy ones and less carriages for the ones that are not so busy. They have been in the business long enough that they should be able to predict. 

'Sometimes when I'm on the train, I want to work. I want to look at papers and use my computer - but I can't.' 

Jack Male, 21, of Somerset who commutes daily to university in Portsmouth, said: 'It's been better since Christmas but before Christmas there were a lot of delays. 

‘Because I have to get a connecting train at Salisbury, it means if the train is late on this side, I can be waiting at Salisbury for up to an hour sometimes. I then have to get the Waterloo train to Exeter St Davids. 

'Because I study history I only have nine or 10 hours-a-week, so that makes the journey doable, but today I had to leave home at about 6.30am to get here for a 9am lecture.' 

He added: 'I haven't used Southern a lot because I tend to use Great Western Railway to get to Salisbury but I've not heard good things. But the SWR train I get from Waterloo is not too bad.' 

Martin Tope, 65, of East Sussex, said: ‘I like trains and have found them to be ok on the journeys I do but I only travel off peak. If I was travelling to work everyday and dealing with all the delays and cancellations then i wouldn't be happy either. It must be a nightmare.’

Gill and Chris Ellie, of Little Hampton, added: ‘We’ve been travelling to Queen Alexandra Hospital for over the past few weeks and have found it to be surprisingly good – only one train was delayed by 10 minutes. We were anxious about using the trains but it has been quite comfortable.’