Trains service praised by passengers

FIRST Great Western, operators of the busiest branch line in the region the Exmouth to Exeter Avocet line, have been praised by record numbers of passengers for their service.

It has been a remarkable turn round for the company – in January 2008 FGW were warned by Government they could have their franchise revoked if they failed to invest �29 million into improving services.

The Department of Transport issued a Remedial Plan Notice following a slew of train cancellations, delays and for not giving passengers correct information on disruptions.

But this week results of the National Passenger Survey carried out by independent rail watchdog Passenger Focus in February showed 83 per cent of customers were happy with the company’s service.

The figures show the best results since comparable records began in 2003 and a two per cent increase in satisfaction compared to the same period last year.

Over the past year customers have seen a “significant improvement” in seven of the key areas measured by the survey.

These include the attitude and helpfulness of staff up three points; punctuality and reliability up three; connections with other train services up four; value for money up seven; speed of journey up three; frequency of services up three; and dealing with delays up nine.

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Over the past 12 months, the punctuality and reliability of First Great Western’s train service has continued to grow, with 92.33 per cent of First Great Western services arriving on time.

First Great Western Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, said: “These results are testament to the hard work everyone at First Great Western has put in over the last year to deliver for our customers.

”We’ll keep looking at ways we can improve our customers’ journeys with us even more.”