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Worst score ever: Rail bosses called in for meeting with mobility minister

17:56 28/11/2018

Federal mobility minister Francois Bellot has invited executives from rail authority SNCB to a round table discussion on how it might improve services. The invitation follows a report that customer satisfaction with the train service is at an all-time low.

Yesterday SNCB released the results of its annual passenger survey that shows that only 60% of rail users are ‘satisfied’ with the service. That has decreased by 5% on last year, an all-time low.

Late trains are the passengers’ biggest gripe, with only 42% being satisfied, a plunge of 18% on last year’s figure. The second-biggest problem is the cost of tickets, with a mere 44% of passengers thinking the prices are fine. SNCB also did worse on cleanliness of the trains, adequate parking at stations and information in the stations.

Every single category in the survey did worse than last year, and this got Bellot’s attention. He has invited SNCB CEO Sophie Dutordoir, infrastructure manager Infrabel CEO Luc Lallemand and the respective boards of directors to discuss the matter.

‘Obviously not happy’

“We are obviously not happy with this result of the survey,” said SNCB spokesperson Dimitri Temmerman. “Punctuality is a problem, that is true. That is key to client satisfaction, so that is where we will focus our improvements. It’s an absolute priority.”

Dutordoir spoke about the situation recently on the interview programme Alleen Elvis blijft bestaan. “These complaints have been going on for decades, and they are quite right,” she said. “But the politicians are also responsible. They have made the SNCB what it is today through a lack of vision regarding the company.”

There is one ray of sunshine in the survey, by the way: The conductors in the trains got a good score. Passengers find them both friendly and helpful in providing information.

Photo: Love the sinner, hate the sin: Conductors got the best score out of all the categories in the SNCB’s customer satisfaction survey
©Siska Gremmelprez/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw