RAIL companies operating in Sussex have some of the poorest levels of passenger trust in the country.

Southern, which operates between Brighton and London and along the coast from Portsmouth Harbour and Hastings, had the lowest overall rating from passengers across a range of areas.

On truthfulness, honesty and integrity and treating customers fairly, Southern was rated worse than any other operator, according to a Passenger Focus survey.

On principles, industry leadership and “doing the right thing when no one is looking”, Southern also scored worst.

Out of 18 categories the operator was the worst-rated 11 times, and in the bottom three 15 times.

First Capital Connect, which will run the Thameslink route between Brighton and Bedford until September, was also rated poorly by passengers.

It was rated in the bottom three ten times and the bottom five all but once.

A Southern spokeswoman said: “The report again draws the conclusion that there is a connection between performance and trust.

"Unfortunately the survey was completed in January – a time when our performance was severely affected by some of the worst weather in living memory.

"Since then we have been working hard with Network Rail to improve performance and have made some good progress recently with performance steadily improving month by month.

“We know there is still more to do to rebuild our passengers’ trust after what was a very long, frustrating winter for many of them.”

A First Capital Connect spokesman said: “"We care very much about our passengers' journeys and have made huge efforts to improve those elements of the service within our control and to engage in new ways with our customers to help them at times of disruption.

“In the latest National Passenger Survey results passenger satisfaction on the Thameslink South route between London and Brighton rose by 18% to 80% – a record for that route.

“We know we have to do more though and will press ahead with final improvements during the remainder of our franchise such as free station wifi at key stations to give passengers even easier ways of communicating with us."

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