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First Capital Connect train service is 'worst' in country, says consumer charity Which
First Capital Connect has been named as the worst train operating company in the country – just days after a snapped power cable caused days of delays.
The survey, published today by consumer charity Which?, shows only 40 per cent of regular train users were satisfied with the service, which runs through Borehamwood, Hendon and Mill Hill.
The next lowest scorer was the Great Anglia train service, with which only 42 per cent of customers are satisfied.
The news comes days after passengers slammed the "shambolic" handling of train delays after a power cable broke at Radlett last Wednesday, leaving many unable to get home from work.
It took three days for engineers to fix the wiring and many took to Twitter to express their anger over the "chaotic" service and the fact that station staff had "no information".
But the survey came under criticism from First Capital Connect, who said it only quizzed 461 people out of the 170,000 passengers who take the route every day.
The firm insisted it had seen improved satisfaction with punctuality and journey times, the attitudes and helpfulness of staff and the security of services.
Just last month, a survey published by travel watchdog Passenger Focus showed 81 per cent of customers were pleased with First Capital Connect.
Six per cent said they were not satisfied and 13 per cent of people responded by saying they were indifferent to the service.
A statement from First Capital Connect said: “Our investment in the service is paying off with improved satisfaction with punctuality and journey times, the attitudes and helpfulness of our staff, the security of our services and the overall station environment.
“We have added over 27,000 more seats to our network at the busiest times of the day through additional services and longer trains. At least £2.5m is being spent on improving station facilities.”
The top scorer was Virgin, for which 67 per cent of passengers said they were pleased with the service.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: "With 1.5 billion train journeys made every year and eight of the 17 UK rail franchises up for grabs in the next two years, customer service should be top of the agenda for every train operating company.
"It is good to see some are performing well on service, but customers clearly feel others need to do better.
"Passengers tell us they are fed up with trains that are delayed, overcrowded and dirty.
"This is especially disappointing as many commuters can’t shop around or change the company they travel with.
"Train companies need to play fair with their customers, especially when they are being asked to pay more for their journeys."