Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:11 UK

Fall in rail passenger complaints

Passengers board train
Almost 90 per cent of trains now run on time

The number of rail passenger complaints fell by nearly 18% over the past year despite an increase in train journeys, a government watchdog has found.

Office of Rail Regulation statistics showed complaints per 100,000 journeys fell 17.8% between 2006/07 and 2007/08.

Over the same period there was a 7.1% increase in passenger journeys.

But the ORR also said fares had risen sharply since the mid-1990s, with tickets in 2008 13.6% more expensive in real terms than they were in 1995.

Between 2006/07 and 2007/08, the number of complaints fell for 15 train companies and rose for five of them. The majority of complaints were about train service and performance.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said the figures showed rail travel was continuing to grow in popularity.

RAIL FACTS 2006/07 TO 2007/08
Average rolling stock age: 14.69 years - up one year
Number of rail journeys: 1.2bn - up 7.1%
Passenger revenue: 5.6bn (up from 5bn in 2006/07)
Satisfied passengers: 80% - up 2%
Trains running on time: almost 90% - up 1.8%

He said the figures reflected "the effort of train operating companies to provide a better service for their customers".

Anthony Smith, chief executive of watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "These figures back up our national passenger survey which show 80% of passengers are satisfied with their overall journey.

"However, passengers will not be shocked by today's findings that fares have been going up year on year. Only two passengers in every five tell us they feel they're getting value for money with their train ticket."

Mr Smith added that his group was particularly concerned about rising prices on routes where passengers have no choice in what rail carrier to use.

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