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Swedes slam service at rail company SJ

TT/The Local · 7 Dec 2009, 07:58

Published: 07 Dec 2009 07:58 GMT+01:00

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This year, SJ received a score of only 55.6 out of 100 in an annual customer satisfaction survey of the transportation industry from Svenskt Kvalitetsindex (SKI).

The survey included questions about air, rail, and road transit, including taxis and buses.

SJ’s score dropped eight points from the 63.1 it received last year.

“It’ obviously a very disappointing result for us, and this is a study we take very sersiously,” SJ spokesperson Dag Rosander said of the company’s low score to the TT news agency.

He added that he was “somewhat surprised” by the result since SJ’s punctuality has actually improved and the company’s own customer surveys indicate an upward trend.

The score for the railway industry as a whole also dropped below 60, which is “a strong signal that customers are really dissatisfied”, according to SKI.

Of the roughly fifty industries reviewed by SKI every year, a score below 60 is highly unusual, added SKI.

Scandinavian airline SAS, which showed a marked improvement last year by rising four points to 64.5 percent, dropped back down to 61.2 in the 2009 survey, close to previous levels.

Skyways also received a weak mark of 60.9.

Among airlines, Malmö Aviation and Sverigeflyg, which includes the Gotlandsflyg, Sundsvallsflyg and Kalmarflyg carriers, received the highest customer ratings of 70.2 and 69.4, respectively.

Swedish bus companies have also had a hard time keeping riders happy, according to the survey.

Swebus Express fell from a score of 70.2 last year to 63.7 this year. Among “other bus companies”, which includes commuter bus lines, customer satisfaction dropped from 73.9 to 65.

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The only transport industry sector to show an increase in customer satisfaction is travel by taxi, which crept up from 68.8 last year to 71.3 in 2009.

SKI has been carrying out regular customer satisfaction and quality development surveys since 1989 in around 50 different industries.

The most recent review of the transit industry is based on responses to 3,100 interviews carried out between October 27th and November 4th.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:59 December 7, 2009 by voiceofreason
Why bother to carry out a survey, this companies have no incentive to change.

They are either state corporations, monopolies or union-run charities. There is no profit motive.
11:01 December 7, 2009 by Keith #5083
I am wondering how much 'dissatisfaction with life in general' is reflected by passengers comments during a year of economic difficulties.

For myself, I have no cause to feel dissatisfied with an excellent and economical service from Swebus Express or any dissatisfaction with SJ where I remain pleasantly surprised by the service offered for the low prices I have paid.

Whilst I support all endeavours to improve quality of service, I also feel we have too much of a tendency to complain nowadays - when,for example, was the last time you sent an email,phone call or letter to an organisation who had supplied your needs in an efficient, cost effective and pleasant manner to thank them?

How about 'The Local' running a 'thanks for good service' page where we can comment when we are happy with the service we have received?
11:29 December 7, 2009 by Twiceshy
My girlfriend has been commuting for two months and she has already experienced at least three days of cancelled trains. That's about a 5% failure rate on their part, assuming 20 days of commuting a month. It's just too much.
11:42 December 7, 2009 by dsclimb
For me being British I feel spoilt by the service SJ provides, it is generally on time, clean, you normally get a seat and it's cheap. The complete opposite to the UK.
12:16 December 7, 2009 by jones2
Completely agree with dsclimb. SJ is sooo cheap. The trains are not always bang on time, but they're really comfortable, with 1st class tickets a real bargain.
12:16 December 7, 2009 by Törnrosa
Compared to British Rail, SJ is shining light in the rail industry. Swedes should try getting across London on a busy Monday evening.
12:31 December 7, 2009 by peterblake
Sometimes these surveys can be affected by a one off ttip. When I've taken the X2000 from Göteborg to Stockholm the service was nothing short of amazing and perfectly timed. As Törnrosa has said SJ has a lot on the old BR companies.

Although when I took a 'non-change' service from Göteborg to Karlskrona I couldn't find my train or any information to say where it was. All I found was a train going to Alvesta which was on the same time. It turned out I had to take this one change and then get my train from there. So I had no reserved seat as I'd paid for on the first train. But my word at least it was warm! -5C outside and yet inside we were all in t-shirts.

So it's not all good on SJ.
12:33 December 7, 2009 by Åskar
I have nothing against SJ and their services as such. What I can't stand is their ridiculous ticket selling system that must have been contrived by someone who has his schedule for the next six month written down in a little black book, including when to go to the toilet, and therefore can't understand that people want to improvise AND want the price to be the same whenever you buy a ticket.
12:56 December 7, 2009 by kenny8076
my only complaint so far and this might just be me thinking things were different in europe, is the time of travel. i just got here from the states and have always thought that train travel was fast and convenient. Yesterday I was on SJ site looking for a train from Göteborg to Åre for some skiing. and it was 16 hours eachway and 951SEK. Its only about 530 miles.

I could drive there in 10 for about 600SEK. the party bus from DC to NYC takes like 4 hours, and i think thats like 300 miles. 16 hours on a train for 500 miles just seems unrealistic to me in a part of the world that prides themselves on rail transportation. whats swedens fastest train?
12:56 December 7, 2009 by Beynch
This is true. Serrvice is atrocious. But you can blame primarily the unionized workers, who treat their jobs as though it were a social program.
14:17 December 7, 2009 by Twiceshy
Beynch in which way are the workers to blame for the delays?
14:35 December 7, 2009 by 2394040
The ones who need to be there yesterday should have left on time yesterday!
15:00 December 7, 2009 by craicen
Service to airports is appauling and why dont the trains run at night? Ever tried getting to an early or late flight in Sweden?

As far as prices go, compared to the low wages that Swedes make, the tickets are expensive!

And this book online months in advance thing. Only the hyper rational, non practical Swede could think up this.
21:20 December 7, 2009 by Liquidmonkey
SJ had this a loooong time coming.

i'm realistic and accept a 15 minute or even 30 minute late train as sometimes $hit happens. but anything over 30 minutes should have a %refund that goes back to the customer.

afterall, WE PAY for a service and if they can't deliver, its time to pay.

and when the train stops in the middle of summer at 35degree heat for 2 hours, i EXPECT some free water or snacks. none of which were even offered when this happened to us.

keeping customers happy is a cost of business and SJ has been doing a pi$$ poor job the last 2 years.

maybe if their tickets were a little bit more flexible but instead the ticket now MUST HAVE YOUR NAME on it (which is total BS) and its down to the minute as to when you should be on the train. remove these 2 restrictions and add flexibility back into the game and customers 'might' be more forgiving.
11:45 December 9, 2009 by karex

Fully agree w/you. Only Brits think that tickets are cheap here, but they normally earn an H*** of a lot more than the average Swede...

Also as someone mentioned earlier, it could be the results are tainted by one awful expereince. But if lots of people have at least one, that's a rather high incidence of awful experience.

I was on a train from Eskoilstuna to Malmö just before Christmas some years ago - it was packed to the brink, naturally. To my dismay when I got into the X2000 my coach had no electricity: no lights, no heating... The train was 40 minutes late, it was -20 degrees outside and -5 inside, and I had 5 hours of riding to look forward to. I had to fight to get a refund.

I also guess that the passengers on Sunday's X2000 from Stockholm to Gothenburg were more than a little miffed: stuck inside the train in Vargårda for 5.5 hours because service in Sweden is awful on regular weekdays and working hours but completely null during weekends... Took them 5.5 hours to find an electrician...?
02:52 December 11, 2009 by NickM
There is currently a concerted effort by the mainstream media in Sweden to drive public opinion against SJ. The reason for this is private interests, including those that own the mainstream media, want to see it privatized.

Whenever you read surveys like this, you have to have a look at who carried out. Surprise surprise, SKI is owned by a private holding company based in the UK:


It is completely natural then that they have been employed to muddy the reputation of SJ and persuade the country that it needs privatizing. As many people testify to in the comments here, the overall standard of SJ is very good compared to many other countries but this simple fact must not be allowed to enter into the minds of Swedes in the private sector's effort to convince people it needs privatizing.

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