It is unlikely to come as a surprise to many, but the news that train companies are failing to deal with complaints effectively is yet another indication that our rail system is broken.
New analysis of rail regulator data by consumer company Which? has found fewer than half of passengers thought their complaint had even been taken seriously – let alone resolved. This is simply not acceptable, particularly at a time when many of those travelling on the railways are paying high prices for often-overcrowded carriages and delayed services.
The findings come less than six months after The Yorkshire Post joined forces with other northern newspapers to call for urgent action following botched timetable changes. And yet again, it appears passengers in this region are being left high and dry, with Northern in the bottom three of the 18 train companies analysed for the different aspects of how complaints are handled.
The data relates to the period immediately before this year’s timetable chaos. However, what remains unclear is the question of how well the huge spike in complaints from frustrated rail users that followed have been dealt with.
What is certain, though, is that railway passengers deserve better. Being served by trains that run on time and are clean, safe and affordable, and have capacity to accommodate all those wanting to travel should come as standard but in reality such service is all-too-rare. Passengers also have every right to raise concerns when something goes wrong. They deserve their complaints to be taken seriously, handled politely and resolved promptly. It is not too much to ask.