It's being reported today that First Scotrail are rated as the worst performing UK rail franchise when it comes to customer service - why does that not surprise me in the least? Primarily because I use them to commute from Irvine to Glasgow 5 days a week and travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back at least twice a week.
In January services outwith Strathclyde saw their fares rise by an inflation busting 4.8%.
Passenger Focus reports that throughout the UK only 45% of passengers believe that rail fares are value for money and that only 35% believe that rail companies deal with delays to their satisfaction.
Figures relating to First Scotrail:
20% drop in satisfaction since autumn 2006.
31% feel that toilet facilities are inadequate.
38% think that their response to delays is unacceptable.
34% say that parking at stations is not up to scratch.
29% say that station facilities are below par.
20% agree that there are not enough luggage facilities on trains.
This is really quite a damming indictment of the company. Mary Dickson, Scotrail MD has commented: "We must improve the way we deal with train delays, regardless of the cause. In particular we need to keep customers better informed."
Yes Mary, indeed you do and you need to do a whole lot more besides. Have you considered having six carriage trains on the Ayrshire line when popular flights are arriving at Prestwick airport? Have you considered offering hassle free rebates to travellers whose journeys are disrupted? Have you considered ensuring that all carriages are heated in winter? Have you considered going along to Political Party Conferences to explain yourselves?
I won't hold my breath.