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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
30% dip in rail users' complaints
Train pulling in to platform
The RPC recorded a fall in passenger complaints
Rail services improved last year but must still improve, a report by the Rail Passengers Council says.

Train users' complaints to the RPC fell by 30% in the 12 months ending March 2004, compared with the period 2002-03.

According to RPC chairman Stewart Francis, many passengers received a better service last year.

Yet with 7,363 complaints recorded in 2003-04, Mr Francis warned that "some are still waiting for decent, basic service levels to arrive."

There is a danger that the ghosts of fare rises and chronic overcrowding may return to haunt us
Stewart Francis, RPC chairman

The chairman acknowledged the rail industry was starting to move in the right direction, but stated that "The industry must strive for greater consistency next year."

Improvements in performance by nearly all passenger train companies and the arrival of hundreds of new trains are likely to have contributed to greater customer satisfaction.

Total complaints 2002-03: 11,192
Total complaints 2003-04: 7,363
Company with most complaints: Central Trains
RPC area with most unsatisfied customers: Midlands
More passengers are now using the railways, but Mr Francis expressed concern that there had been a "limited expansion in rail capacity" and emphasised that passengers want a railway which continues to develop and expand, whilst offering value for money.

The appeal complaint statistics, detailing complaints made if passengers are disappointed with the response they receive from a train company, show the area of greatest dissatisfaction was regarding the redress and reimbursement offered by train companies.

The second most frequent cause for dissatisfaction was train performance and service quality, although complaints here fell from 2,391 in 2002-03 to 1,342 in 2003-04.

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