Southeastern has the joint-lowest ‘value for money’ rating of all major rail networks

Southeastern has the joint-lowest 'value for money' rating of all major rail networks

Alongside South Western Railway, Southeastern has the joint-lowest ‘value for money’ rating of all major rail networks, a national survey has found.

Slightly more than one third (36 per cent) of passengers asked said the franchise, which serves Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, was worth the price of the tickets. Most of the remainder thought it poor value for money.

The data, released last week by watchdog Transport Focus, also found eight out of ten were ‘satisfied overall’ with Southeastern’s performance.

West Kent commuters pay some of the highest commuter fares per mile in the country, with season tickets to London recently rising by an average 3.6 per cent.

Rail passengers reacted with dismay when the recent fare increases pushed the cost of an annual season ticket from Tunbridge Wells to London through the £4,500 barrier adding an extra £160 to the cost.

This means the journey remains one of the most expensive commuter routes in the country. Even before the latest rise a commuter making a return journey five days a week, excluding 25 days annual leave and Bank Holidays, would spend 31 pence per mile travelled.

An annual season ticket from Tonbridge to London now costs £4,232, up from £4,088.

Car parks managed by Southeastern also saw a sharp increase that means Tonbridge commuters are now charged £1,276 a year just to park.

Transport Focus spoke to a combined 27,000 commuters across the country to compile the report.

Their findings also showed Southern, which serves Leigh, Penshurst, Crowborough and Eridge, had a 72 per cent satisfaction rate and 38 per cent thought it was good value for money.

Of the 26 firms analysed, Grand Central finished top with a 96 per cent satisfaction rate.

Southeastern also recorded 80 per cent in the Autumn 2017 report.

David Statham, Managing Director of Southeastern said: “We’re pleased to see our scores are continuing to improve.

“We’ve achieved this through the hard work and commitment of our employees, working together with our colleagues at Network Rail.”

A spokesman from GTR, the firm who control Southern, commented: “On Southern, after the previous year’s intense period of industrial action, our services have improved and we are determined to build on that.”

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