Rail Service Quality Report: 2020-2021

On this page:

Section 1: Information and ticket sales

Online

  • Customers can plan a journey, check the variety of ticket options and prices and purchase tickets through our online ticket sales platform
  • Train tickets and timetables are available online and can be views in a mobile friendly format, pdf formats are also available. Visit our train timetables page
  • Live information on train arrivals and departures, highlighting delays or disruption, are available on our website. Platform numbers for any station are also available but may change at short notice. Visit our Live Departures page.
  • South Western Railway manage nearly 200 stations. We know its important to know what facilities are available at each station and the staff availability at each station. All this information can be found in our stations finder.
  • If you need assistance navigating the station or a ramp to get on your train, our passenger assistance service can help. Detailed information can be found on our Assisted Travel page where a booking form is available.
    • Alternatively, you can call 0800 52 82 100 (freephone) to speak to our in-house Assisted Travel Team, 24-hours a day (except 25th and 26 December).
    • Or National Rail Enquiries also operate a 24-hour dedicated travel assistance line by calling 08000 22 37 20.
    • Our Text Relay service 18001 0800 52 82 100. Using the text relay service is easy – simply add 18001 before the number or download the Text Relay app. A Relay assistant will type back anything the hearing person says at the other end of the call
  • We strive to be transparent when we encounter disruption. Our Passenger Information During Disruption (PIDD) is updated annually and details how and when we will keep you informed of incidents affecting the train service, who is responsible for the various aspects of returning the train service to normal, and the standards that we aim to meet. Further detail can be found on our PIDD page.

At the station and on board our trains

  • All SWR stations have information screens available showing upcoming departures and their calling points. Information on disruptions is also shown on the information screens.
  • Many of our stations are staffed, and all SWR our stations have help points that are manned 24/7 and are available to provide assistance or information.
  • You can check whether a station has an available ticket office on our station information pages. Most of our stations also have ticket machines available.
  • Most of our stations have step free access and/or ramps. Get in touch with our station staff at staffed stations once you’ve arrived, and we’ll take care of the rest. If you’re at an unstaffed station, make your way to the platform, and we’ll do our best to let the on-board team know you’re boarding.
  • All our services have a guard on board and in the case of delays the guard will announce information as appropriate.
  • On-board announcements and information screens are also available on board our trains.

Section 2: Punctuality and general principles to cope with disruption to services

At South Western Railway we know that you want a safe, reliable, punctual service. We’re committed to providing this, to help deliver the best service we can. We continually measure our service reliability and punctuality and report on how we are performing against targets which are set in our Passenger’s Charter.

Service delays and cancellations

Category Percentage of trains
Overall average delay to services 0.92 minutes (55 seconds)
Services with on-time departure from origin station (less than one minute late)
93.93% 
Services with on-time arrival at destination station (less than one minute late)
78.35%
Services with a delay on arrival at destination between 1 and 59 minutes
21.64%
Services with a delay on arrival at destination between 60 and 119 minutes
0.01%
Services with a delay on arrival at destination of 120 minutes or more
0%
Services scheduled to run that were cancelled in full or partially due to on-the-day disruption
1.96%

Disruption

Our Passenger Information During Disruption (PIDD) outlines the way we tell you what’s going on when trains are disrupted. Every Train Operating Company publishes their PIDD Local Plan as part of our efforts to be more transparent than ever before.

When disruption does occur, real-time information on how to travel will be shown on our live departures page and on information screens at our stations. Members of staff will also assist at staffed stations, and we have help-points available at all stations that are manned 24/7.

Section 3: Cleanliness of rolling stock and station facilities

As a responsible train operator, the health and safety of our customers and colleagues is our priority. We have regularly scheduled cleaning of all of our trains, and during the COVID-19 pandemic we have increased the frequency of internal cleaning on trains with anti-bacterial products to ensure contaminated droplets on surfaces are removed as quickly as possible. When cleaning we are also paying particular attention to commonly touched surfaces such as ticket machines, door buttons, and grab rails.

We’re also using an antiviral product called Zoono Z71. When applied to surfaces it leaves a ‘microbe shield’ which breaks up bacteria and kills 99.9% of viruses (including coronavirus) for up to 30 days. We are applying this on a regular basis, using a technique called ‘fogging’ where the chemical is reduced to a fine mist and sprayed across our carriages. Additionally, we have placed hand sanitiser machines at over 100 of our stations.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still deep cleaning over 65,000 seats each month. Usually, our trains start the day having been cleaned the previous evening at the depot, and then further cleaning is carried out during the day at the main terminal stations. On our long-distance routes, we have a mobile team, who also help with cleaning at intermediate stations.

Air conditioning and air quality

Most of our trains are equipped with air conditioning. Some of our older trains are however due to be replaced soon, these new trains will be equipped with air conditioning.

Section 4: Customer satisfaction survey

Transport Focus undertake the National Rail Passenger Survey twice a year, each year on behalf of all train companies. Our results can be found on our National Rail Passenger Survey page.

Despite the impact of COVID-19 across the globe, we are working hard behind the scenes to make headway in improving services. We are continuing to work with Network Rail to improve performance and have already seen signs of improvement. We’ve recently welcomed the first of our new £1 billion suburban trains for testing, as well as providing a step-change in customer experience, these trains offer a significant opportunity to improve performance by using modern technology to reduce station dwell times on some of our busiest routes.

We’re also investing in our station with a £1.5 million repainting programme and new cycle facilities, benches and waiting shelters; as well as investing in Wi-Fi for our trains and across all our stations. Full results can also be found in the Transport Focus NRPS Report website.

Section 5: Complaint handling, refunds, and compensation

Our Complaints Handling Procedure sets out full details of our commitment to customers who choose to comment about our service. When you make a complaint, it comes through to our dedicated in-house Customer Service Centre, where well-trained, professional staff will follow it to resolution.

The table below shows the complaint volumes from the last reporting year 2020-2021:

Statistic Value
Volume of complaints closed 144041
Top five complaints categories closed 1: Train service performance
2: Attitude & helpfulness of staff at stations
3: Delay Repay claim rejected
4: Ticket buying facilities
5: Ticketing & refund policy
Volume of complaints received 108451
Percentage of complaints resolved within 20 working days 65.50%1
Average response time to close complaints 7.9 days1

1: Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Western Railway received an exceptionally large volume of refund requests from March 2020-June 2020. It was deemed necessary to prioritise these refund requests for our customers to receive their money back when they were unable to travel.

Unfortunately, this means that a number of complaints took longer to be answered than we would normally like. From July 2020 to April 2021, over 99% of complaints were responded to within our 20 working days target, with an average response time of less than 2-days.

The volume of cases closed in the last financial year includes complaints that were received prior to 1st April 2021, hence the fact that we have closed more complaints than we have received.

Section 6: Assisted Travel

  • If you need assistance navigating the station or a ramp to get on your train, our passenger assistance service can help. Detailed information can be found on our Assisted Travel page where a booking form is available.
    • Alternatively, you can call 0800 52 82 100 (freephone) to speak to our in-house Assisted Travel Team, 24-hours a day (except 25 and 26 December).
    • Or National Rail Enquiries also operate a 24-hour dedicated travel assistance line by calling 08000 22 37 20.
    • Our Text Relay service 18001 0800 52 82 100. Using the text relay service is easy – simply add 18001 before the number or download the Text Relay app. A Relay assistant will type back anything the hearing person says at the other end of the call
  • We are part of Passenger Assist which is a national system that all train companies are part of. This system allows operators to decide as required at all points along the journey for anyone who has a disability and requires assistance. We are committed to using this system and will provide assistance to anyone who books in advance. SWR staff will provide this assistance at all of our managed stations, and also at London Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Guildford stations, which are managed by Network Rail. At other stations, whether they be managed by another Train Operating Company or Network Rail, their staff will provide the same assistance.
  • We have received a total number of 7,910 assistance bookings for South Western Railway for the 2020-2021 reporting period.
  • Additionally we delivered a further 4,655 Turn Up & Go requests during that year.