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Railhub Archive
1999-08-25 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Regulator demands action as complaints top a million

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Regulator demands action as complaints top a million

25 August 1999
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/99/36

Tom Winsor, the Rail Regulator, today demanded that rail companies pay more attention to their customers' needs following today's launch of the latest Rail Complaints Bulletin which reveals another sharp increase in passenger dissatisfaction. The number of passengers complaining to train operating companies rose by 8% last year to 1,072,958.

Launching the bulletin Mr Winsor says : "When a passenger complains, action is needed. I expect train operators to use complaint data to make the necessary improvements.

"The rising trend of complaints is completely unacceptable. I believe many areas of passenger concern and complaints can, and should, be put right now.

"Passengers should not have to make continual complaints about matters which are simple and cheap to remedy. For example, train operators could move towards reducing the 11 per cent (118,000 ) of train quality complaints from the total just by providing clean carriages and a decent catering service.

"Passengers should not have to work hard to make a complaint. Train operators should make it easier for passengers to complain by telephone. A contact call, quickly and competently handled, is the key to customer care. Itís cheaper and more efficient for operators too. Those operators must actively seek feedback and give a fast and high-quality response ".

Among the reportís other findings

almost all operators have improved their response times since the last report with 17 out of 25 operators closing more than 90% of cases within 20 working days, and only two closing fewer than 70% within 20 working days.
commuter-based services receive a lower volume of complaints than those operators providing longer distance leisure or business rail services.
care should be taken in making comparisons between operators until weaknesses in the processes for providing consistent data are remedied.
after train service performance (which attracts the greatest number of complaints), train quality (11%) and fares retailing and refunds (10.10%) are the two next highest categories of complaint.
The Rail Complaints bulletin is available from: ORR Library, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2TQ. Telephone 0171 282 2001; fax 0171 282 2045; e-mail

The document can also be found on the ORR website:


The findings in the Rail Complaints Bulletin are based on unaudited data provided to the Regulator by the train operators themselves. Based on customer contacts (i.e. each contact counted as one complaint regardless of the number of issues that the contact covered) in line with the Office of Fair Trading and other regulators. The Rail Regulator is currently developing an independent auditing regime to identify and remove any discrepancies from future data.

Railhub Archive ::: 1999-08-25 ORR-001


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