Improved Customer Satisfaction and Better Punctuality in a Year of Progress for Greater Anglia
Abellio train operator Greater Anglia is looking ahead to delivering further improvements for passengers, after a positive first year which has seen real steps forward in customer service, communication and punctuality.
Commenting on the company’s first year of operation (which began on 5 February 2012), Managing Director Ruud Haket said: “The entire team at Greater Anglia has worked extremely hard to improve our train services across the region and to put the customer first. I am very pleased that we have made good progress in delivering record levels of punctuality for the East Anglia franchise, providing much better customer service and developing more positive partnerships with our stakeholders across the communities we serve.
The encouraging improvement in our customer satisfaction rating is a positive endorsement of what we have achieved to date. We recognise, however, that there is much more to do. We are determined to raise service standards further, by continuing to improve and invest in the service we offer our passengers. Over the next 12 months, we are aiming for better, more consistent, punctuality performance (through our “alliance” with Network Rail), as well as delivering more customer-focused initiatives – such as ongoing upgrades to station facilities and more ticket and product developments and special offers. Passengers can also enjoy easier weekend travel, free of disruptive engineering work, for most of the year.
We remain absolutely committed to doing what we can to deliver a better service for customers during our short franchise and to working proactively with partners to secure the approvals and funding necessary to achieve major upgrades for East Anglia’s rail network in the longer term.”
One of the most important achievements of Greater Anglia’s first year was better punctuality. Working in partnership with Network Rail through a new “alliance”, train service performance has improved to a new high of 92.2% for the moving annual average (MAA) punctuality (up to 5 January 2013) for the East Anglia franchise since the current structure was established in 2004. Greater Anglia has also delivered the highest-ever 4-week period of punctuality in its first year, when 95% punctuality was achieved for the period ended 13 October 2012.
Another key area of focus was customer service, leading to a marked improvement in customer satisfaction since Greater Anglia began operation of the franchise. Only this week, in the most recent National Passenger Survey issued by Passenger Focus for Autumn 2012, 83% of Greater Anglia's passengers said they were satisfied with the service, a figure which is up from 77% in the previous year's survey and 73% in Spring 2012.
The company has invested in many aspects of customer service, equipping all 1,600 frontline employees with blackberrys; operating a very popular and proactive Twitter feed with almost 16,000 followers; installing new ticket machines and introducing mobile and print-at-home ticketing, investing in stations and facilities, and introducing a new hourly timetable on the East Suffolk line between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
In addition, Greater Anglia has worked to deep clean its entire train fleet and many stations, and is investing in upgrades for some of its Class 321 electric trains, which operate services in Essex, and its fleet of Class 156 trains in Norfolk and Suffolk. The past year has also seen the launch of a comprehensive customer service training programme for its frontline employees - an early sign of progress being the positive feedback the company received about performance and customer service standards during last summer’s Olympics and Paralympics.
A further feature of Greater Anglia’s first year has been a real commitment to engage more closely with the local community and stakeholders to develop partnerships to help deliver better integration through station bus links, station travel plans, improved facilities for cycles and support for Community Rail Partnerships and station adoption schemes.
Greater Anglia is also playing a leading role with the region’s MPs in the development of the East Anglian rail prospectus and in making the case for greater investment in rail. And a key output of Greater Anglia’s partnership with Network Rail is the significant reduction in the weekends affected by disruptive engineering work in 2013 on the mainline route between Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester and London.