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Railways Consumer watchdog demands better rail service and calls for automatic compensation for passengers

CONSUMER watchdog Which? is calling for automatic compensation for rail passengers who are delayed.

Its researchers polled 14,000 passengers on their satisfaction with rail services and the privateers ranked poorly.

Chaotic Southern was deemed the worst rail operator for the third year in a row, with a satisfaction score of just 28 per cent.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Once again the basket-case Southern Rail franchise sits rock bottom of the league table despite soaking up millions in taxpayer bungs and having their timetables rewritten for them by Chris Grayling and his officials.

“They are just a rotten example of everything that is wrong on Britain’s privatised railways and it’s no longer a question of if they will be kicked out and the public alternative takes over, it’s a matter of when.”

Only a fifth of travellers said they had seen an improvement in train services in the last year, others described journeys on the three worst-performing train networks — Southern, Southeastern and Thameslink & Great Northern — as “hellish,” “awful” and “consistently delayed.”

The watchdog said: “Commuters generally have little say over when they travel to work, and with which train company. It’s therefore vital that they claim compensation when their train is delayed.

“Not all train companies make it easy to get a refund in the event of late-running or cancelled trains.”

Which?’s annual survey also saw the “big six” ranked among the worst energy firms for customer satisfaction.

Scottish Power and British Gas took joint-26th position, below SSE at 24 — while EDF and Eon stood jointly in 22nd position in the  survey of 30 energy companies.

Those with medium-sized energy firms were most likely to rank their supplier as excellent for value for money, the clarity and accuracy of bills and phone customer service.

Households with the big six on a standard variable tariff could save up to £333 a year by moving to the cheapest dual-fuel deal on the market, the poll found.

Fuel Poverty Action campaigner Ruth Condon said most people do not want to “spend their lives jumping from one firm to another.

“What we need is non-profit energy companies that are accountable to their customers and workers, who also pay attention to the dangers of climate change.”

Which? has launched a petition to demand a better rail service:


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