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Railhub Archive
1998-07-01 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Regulator's report shows nearly 1 million complaints to rail industry

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator's report shows nearly 1 million complaints to rail industry

related documents

Rail complaints bulletin: report no. 1 1997/98 (ORR, 1998)


1 July 1998
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/98/24

Nearly one million complaints from passengers were registered by the railway industry during 1997-98, according to a report published today by the Rail Regulator John Swift QC.

The figures, collated and published for the first time, showed that 650,000 complaints were made in writing and 310,000 by telephone. This represents 115 complaints for every 100,000 passenger journeys made.

Today's publication marks an important step forward in increasing the accountability of train operators to their customers. Comments and complaints from passengers are an important indicator of how well their expectations are being met and whether improvements are being delivered.

Mr Swift said: "Passengers have a right to expect excellent service. If the railway fails to meet their expectations it lets them down. Passengers have a right to complain and seek compensation when the service promise is not delivered. I hope this report will further encourage train operators to actively seek and act on their customers concerns so that a better train service can be delivered.

"I hope that the publication of league tables will set new benchmarks for performance which will act as a further incentive for operators to deliver service excellence and improve the way they handle passengers' complaints."

Key conclusions of the report are that:

The number of complaints by any individual operator does not relate solely to service performance. Several factors affect complaint numbers, including whether operators actively encourage feedback and make it easy for passengers to complain.
Train operators should actively seek feedback since this is an important source of information about their success in imrpoving services to passengers.
Many train operators need to invest in better computer systems for recording complaints and responding to complainants.
Some train operators need to provide their customers with better access by telephone and to improve their recording of telephone complaints.

Most train operators need to improve their speed of response to customer complaints, and to ensure that they meet their stated response targets.

This is the first in a planned series of reports on rail industry complaint handling. Future reports will show trends in performance and highlight improvements in complaints handling performance.


1. CRUCC and RUCC data, which relates only to complaints received by them, is not comparable with that published in this report which relates to passengers complaints made direct to train operators.

2. Under the terms of their Passenger Licence, each train operator must produce a procedure for handling complaints which is approved by the Rail regulator. The collation and publication of the data in this report is one way in which the Regulator monitors compliance with the commitments made in their procedures.

Railhub Archive ::: 1998-07-01 ORR-001


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