Abellio commences new Anglia franchise with a mission of raising poor existing levels of passenger satisfaction with personal security on network.

Dutch transport group Abellio took control of the Greater Anglia franchise on February 5 and as promised doubled the numbers of safety and security staff employed within its customer service team. These additional team members will be able to provide help, assistance and information while travelling on the network.

The aim of this move by the new operator is to ensure that customers feel assured of safe travel on its train services. National Passenger Survey figures for last autumn published by Passenger Focus last month show that just 67% of National Express East Anglia passengers were satisified with their personal security whilst on trains (significantly below the average score of 75% of train operators in London and the South East). Satisfaction with personal security at stations was even lower at 62%, compared to 66% for all London commuter operators.

Greater Anglia’s additional making travel safe officers (MTSOs), or enforcement officers, who will be working across the region will be the largest ever single deployment of complementary policing resources in the history of UK rail. These officers will work in partnership with the revenue protection officers (RPOs) and British Transport Police to reduce fare evasion and tackle anti-social behaviour. They will be accredited under the Railway Safety Accreditation Scheme.

Superintendent Gareth Williams, from British Transport Police, said: “The MTSOs will be a valuable addition to the existing policing presence and provide further reassurance for passengers across the network.”

“We already have officers who tackle crime and passenger safety issues on trains and at stations across Essex and East Anglia, but these additional teams will play a significant role in supporting our efforts, by patrolling the lines across the Greater Anglia route.

“The team will be tasked on a daily basis to patrol hotspot locations where anti-social behaviour and low-level disorder is reported and they will work alongside police officers and specialist resources when required.

“By having specific teams targeting dedicated lines of route, passengers can be assured of seeing a higher visibility presence across the Greater Anglia route, which we believe will make great inroads in further reducing crime.”

Greater Anglia managing director Ruud Haket commented: “I want customers to have complete peace of mind that they are travelling safely too, and the deployment of the MTSO and RPO team will certainly help.

“I also want to make it really clear that I believe all customers should travel on a valid ticket. We know that over 90% of customers buy a ticket, however this still leaves 1 in 10 that don’t and this minority are costing all rail users in the end. As promised Greater Anglia has increased the number of seats available on services to and from Liverpool Street by using the fleet available more effectively.”

In addition, a new marketing and advertising campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the savings customers can make travelling by train compared with the car. Savings endorsed by Emmerson Hill, who calculate cost per mile for the Department for Transport and the AA, show that running a car is 56p per mile and this is reduced to 21p per mile by train if the customer travels on a monthly or longer season ticket.

The National Passenger Survey shows that National Express East Anglia passengers were the least satisfied of any train operating company in Autumn 2011 – with overall satisfaction of 77%.

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