Trains are on track

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SATISFACTION among train users on a coastal route is higher than the national average, according to a survey by a passenger group.

Out of 117 people asked about the trains on the Tyne-Tees rail line, which goes through Hartlepool, 90 per cent said the service they received was satisfactory or good, which is the same as last year’s result.

71 per cent said they were getting value for money and 81 per cent said they were happy with the reliability of trains on the route.

The national average for overall satisfaction in the survey of 29,597 people by Passenger Focus stands at 84 per cent, the same as the previous year.

Despite the high figures, Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus’s chief executive, said more needs to be done to improve services while warning of future price-hikes.

He said: “The rail industry needs to re-double efforts to make sure that poor performance is spotted, understood and addressed. Getting trains on time remains the key driver of passenger satisfaction.”

He said the next three years will see regulated fares set at inflation plus three per cent. In addition, train companies can alter individual fares by up to an extra five per cent on some routes, as long as the overall rises for particular train companies are balanced by reductions on others.

Mr Smith added: “The next three years will see passengers hit by above inflation fare increases – this must be the end of the era of massive fare hikes.

“Passengers are paying more than their share. It is now up to the industry to reduce its costs.”

Mr Smith said Passenger Focus will use the research to work with train companies and Network Rail to make a difference for passengers.