Arriva Trains Wales, ScotRail and South West Trains criticised

MySociety has criticised ScotRail, South West Trains and Arriva Trains Wales as “recalcitrant operators” for their refusal to deal with customer complaints and feedback in public via its FixMyTransport website.

The civil rights charity said their approach had not gone unnoticed by passengers and claimed their refusal to engage openly on the website meant it was “starting to look as if they might have some customer service secrets to hide”.

MySociety added that their response was in contrast to the majority of operators who had embraced the website as a means of displaying a commitment to customer service and winning praise for a professional approach to dealing with issues raised by customers.

FixMyTransport was launched a year ago and enables passengers to leave feedback on services offered by transport operators and organisations. To date over 3,500 people have used it to send complaints to bus, train, underground, tram and ferry companies, councils and PTEs. Organisations provide responses which can be viewed in public. Each problem submitted through FixMyTransport has had an average of 50 readers.

Tom Steinberg, director of mySociety, said that operators who choose to keep complaints handling behind closed doors were missing an opportunity. “Used properly, FixMyTransport allows operators to proactively manage their public relations,” he said. “So long as they are giving great customer service, a substantial readership for each problem should be something to embrace, not fear.”

The charity also criticised Northern Rail for its policy of sending a one-line response to all complaints to say that they have been “passed on to the relevant teams”. My Society described this as “hardly what you’d expect from a company that wanted to win customer support”.

The leading transport organisation singled out for praise was Transport for London, which MySociety said had embraced the challenge of responding to passenger complaints online, after some initial reservations, and as a result has created a large public archive detailing its excellent customer service.

Other operators which the site highlighted as excellent performers in the way they dealt with feedback were Southern, First Great Western and Stagecoach buses.

 

The full story appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport. Click here to subscribe.