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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Passenger satisfaction rates dip
First ScotRail train
Passengers were concerned about delays and train toilets

Customer satisfaction among First ScotRail passengers has fallen slightly, according to a survey.

The independent Passenger Focus watchdog said the satisfaction rating went from 86% in 2006 to 83% in 2007.

The network has been subject to a signallers' strike, Glasgow Central has also been shut for engineering work and work has gone on at Waverley station.

First ScotRail said its satisfaction ratings were higher than the averages for national and regional operators.

The figure for national operators was 79% while the regional figure was 82%.

Mary Dickson
We recognise that there is more to be done and will drive forward our efforts to improve the journey experience for all
Mary Dickson
First ScotRail

First ScotRail said it outperformed national and regional trends in 29 out of 32 categories, including cleanliness and personal security at stations.

The survey, carried out between 22 January and 31 March, said areas of concern included train toilets and how delays were dealt with.

First ScotRail said that at the time of the survey there was pressure on the availability of trains as some were out of service because of weather-related damage and flooding.

Managing director Mary Dickson said: "It was a challenging time and we understand our customers' views on these issues.

Performance measure

"Clearly we have work to do and concerns are already being addressed.

"We recognise that there is more to be done and will drive forward our efforts to improve the journey experience for all at a time when passenger numbers are at record levels not seen since the 1960s."

Ms Dickson added that in the month following the survey, First ScotRail's public performance measure, including a combination of reliability and punctuality, reached 92.6% - its best in seven years.

Really what the railway industry and government is speed up their investments
James King
Passenger Focus

However, Inverness provost Bob Wynd said the length of time for a rail journey between the city and Edinburgh was totally "out of order" for the 21st Century.

James King, from Passenger Focus, said the drop in satisfaction was worrying.

He said: "Some of the issues are particular to ScotRail, for example how well they deal with delays, very low score there, and train toilets are very low.

"But across the board there is pressure from passengers for more facilities, more space to sit and stand and for fairer fare regimes.

"And really what the railway industry and government have got to do is speed up their investments to accommodate the growth that passengers want to see in the network."

ScotRail conceded that there were areas with room for improvement, including toilets and delays.

The firm said a programme of toilet refurbishment was under way.

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