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Eurostar Service Quality Performance

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1) Introduction

In application of Regulation (EC) N°1371/2007 on the rights and obligations of passengers ("the Regulation"), and notably, Article 28, railway companies operating in the territory of a Member State of the European Union must publish an annual quality report (the "Quality Report").

This report follows the format of Annex III of the Regulation - Minimum Service Quality Standards

  1. Information & Tickets
  2. Punctuality and general principles for handling service disruptions
  3. Service cancellations
  4. Cleanliness of rolling stock and station facilities (air quality in carriages, sanitary facility hygiene, etc.)
  5. Customer satisfaction survey
  6. Management of complaints, refunds and compensation for non-compliance with service quality standards
  7. Assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility

About Thalys

A European challenge

Thalys has a clear vision on rail traffic in Europe paired with a huge ambition: stimulating exchanges via direct international rail connections that are both fast and easy.

Thalys was launched in the early nineties. From the outset it was developed to the scale of its 4 countries: Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany. The company was established in 1995 as a cooperation between SNCB, SNCF, DB and NS. A few months later, in June 1996, our very first red train left the station with the first Thalys-passengers on board.

To master this challenge, our teams managed to concentrate the best of railroad technology: Thalys trainsets are industrial innovations that can adapt to as many as nine different signage systems and four types of electrification. Our train drivers and train managers are specially trained and adhere to often complex sets of national norms and regulations.

Mission accomplished: more than 7.5 million travelers per year choose Thalys!

A culture of service

Promoting mobility in Europe means that train journeys not only have to be faster, but also easier and more pleasant for travelers. That is why at Thalys we focus on the needs of travelers. This is also apparent in our motto "Welcome to our world". The fact that all our onboard personnel have chosen to learn the different languages spoken across our network to make every customer feel welcome, illustrates our customer-centered approach.

With 50% leisure and 50% business travelers aboard our trains, Thalys serves a wide audience. Thalys was amongst the first trains in the world to introduce Wi-Fi on board (2008). Just like the comfort and the warm reception, free Wi-Fi is now part of our standard service.

If desired, travelers can enjoy a tasty meal at the seat, a digital press offer and taxis/private chauffeur booked online.

Especially looking for a low fare? Thalys aims to offer the best rates: our entry prices have been stable for several years and in total about one third of our tickets are offered for less than €40.

Meeting challenges runs in our DNA

Seamlessly crossing numerous national borders several times a day is a major challenge, so operational and technological excellence are an absolute must. By incorporating these values into our company DNA, Thalys has been able to play a leading role in many areas, from Wi-Fi to ERTMS (the European signaling and management system for trains). The "CO", our operational center based in Brussels, constantly monitors all train movements on the 4 national infrastructures and accurately tracks the train frequencies per route. Customer service answers questions from travelers in four languages every day.

Within this framework, the transformation of Thalys into an independent railway company in 2015 was an important step. Thanks to the confidence of our shareholders SNCB and SNCF, Thalys is now directly active in France and Belgium. In Germany, We have also changed our approach since December 2016, with improved management of the operational processes with the support of SNCF Voyages Deutschland (SVDE) and Keolis Deutschland. Finally, the quality of the Thalys service is also the result of a very good cooperation with the NS in the Netherlands.

Nowadays, Thalys has joined forces with Eurostar to offer a unique international travel experience across five countries.

Together, we share the same raison d'être: connecting Europeans across borders. Today, no train in the world crosses so many borders every day!

In 2023, we will both evolve towards a single brand: Eurostar. So, for a few days now, Thalys has been proudly displaying the words "Member of the Eurostar Group".

More information

2) Information and tickets

In 2020, for the first time in its history, Thalys became distributor of the tickets sold on its Thalys.com site. Thanks to this major step, our customers benefit from unified and homogeneous sales and after-sales process, regardless of their country.

By the way, ticket issuing is still handled by Thalys‘shareholder railway undertakings (SNCF, SNCB) and partner (NS) through their distribution channels, as well as through other contractual distributors, using the information systems of Thalys' shareholders and partner.

Information about the service offer (i.e. information about schedules, fares, seat availability, contractual conditions, etc.) is available on the thalys.com website.

The documentation is also available at the points of sale of each distributor (stations, call centres and Internet sites).

The table below provides the overall distribution of sales in 2022, all distributors combined:

Sales Channels 2022Percentage

Internet

71%

Agencies

21%

Stations

4%

Call center

2%

Others

2%

3) Punctuality and disruption/cancellation management

Overall results

Concerning the punctuality, 2022 has been severely disrupted during the summer.

The overall punctuality within 15 minutes deteriorated markedly to reach an annual average of 84.6% (-4.8 vs 2021).

Service disruption management <> Traveller information

For each train suffering a delay equal to or greater than 10 minutes, Thalys sends an SMS message or email to all train passengers who requested the option and provided their contact information when they purchased a ticket.

In addition, the thalys.com website is updated based on the same criteria. A "traffic information" banner appears on the homepage. By clicking on the banner, travellers can see a list of trains affected by the incident.

The information is available in four languages (French, Dutch, German and English).

Thalys strives to provide the most up-to-date information to passengers.

For example, Thalys provides information on the delays at each station with Thalys train service.

The information is available on both visual and audio media in all of the stations with Thalys service.

On board the trains, the "train managers" (ticket inspectors) are responsible for providing the information to passengers, either orally or via a system of pre-recorded digital announcements.

All of the people involved and tools used are updated by operators at the Thalys Operations Center in Brussels.

4) Cleanliness of rolling stock and station facilities

Thalys does not manage train stations. It is therefore not responsible for station cleanliness and facilities.

With regard to Thalys rolling stock, the train fleet is cleaned by the teams of the various networks.

On-site procedure

The trains are cleaned prior to each departure, either in the maintenance workshops or in the departure station. In addition to "everyday" cleaning, thorough cleanings are also done at less frequent intervals.

In addition, in the specific context of the COVID crisis, Thalys has stepped up its cleaning and disinfection operations for its equipment and passenger areas.

2022 results

The conformity of Thalys cleaning and train cleanliness is measured via:

  • Internal cleaning controls
  • "Mystery customers" (they check the cleanliness on board during the travel and at their seats)

In 2022, our performance reached a 99% compliance rate for inspections carried out by mystery customers during journeys.

5) Customer satisfaction surveys

A reminder about the methodology

Since 2014, Thalys mesures the satisfaction level of its customers via online surveys. The survey criteria are as follows:

  • Questionnaires are answered online after travel
  • The surveys are conducted continuously, throughout the quarter
  • In case of a delay exceeding 10 minutes, a special questionnaire is sent to each customer to determine their satisfaction level following the service disruption
  • Customers have a scale from 0 to 10 to express their satisfaction level (0 means that the customer is completely dissatisfied and 10 that he is completely satisfied).

Travellers are considered satisfied when they enter a score equal to or greater than 7:

  • From 0 to 4: they are considered dissatisfied
  • From 5 to 6: they are considered moderately satisfied
  • From 7 to 8: they are considered satisfied
  • 9 and 10: they are considered completely satisfied
  • The satisfaction level for a given topic is, therefore, the proportion of customers who entered a score from 7 to 10.

Principal lessons for 2022

We observe a slight decline of the satisfaction levels, regardless of the situation observed:

  • Customer satisfaction in ‘’normal situation’’ reaches 85.5% (-0.7 vs 2019).
  • Customer satisfaction in ‘’disrupted situation’’ stands at 44.7% (-1.3 vs 2019)

Moreover, our NPS remains always well positioned (especially in normal situation):

  • NPS in ‘’normal situation’’ = 47.6 (+5 vs 2019)
  • NPS in ‘’disrupted situation’’ = -14.1 (-0.1 vs 2019)

Finally, in the detail of the offer, we will note:

  • The very good progress of levels related to our TA’s, the cleanliness of the toilets, the WiFi and the value for money ratio
  • The still very good performance of our TM’s
  • The perfectibility of the catering, which has seen its levels slightly drop

6) Complaint management

Compensation policy

Since October 15, 2022, as part of the Greenspeed project, the compensation policies of Thalys and Eurostar have been aligned, in compliance with the impositions of passenger rights.

Passengers who wish to be compensated by bank transfer receive 25% or 50% of the fare as of the 60th and 120th minute of the delay, respectively. These proportions are increased in the event of compensation in e-vouchers.

Commercial gestures and compensation in Miles are also specifically dedicated to ''My Thalys World'' travellers.

Thalys thus decides to thank the loyalty of its travelers by exceeding the minimum requirements of Regulation (EC) No1371/2007 for passengers who choose to be compensated in e-vouchers / miles.

A few figures

In 2022, the effects of the health crisis have faded and the distribution of the contact reasons has become more “classic” again.

The following table shows the distribution of the different types of contacts (complaints & info/help desk) managed by the Thalys customer service in 2022:

Distribution of customer service contact reason 2022 (written)

SubjectPercentage

Delay compenstation

41%

Booking (sales/after-sales)

30%

On board and at the station

5%

Information communication

1%

Traffic and schedules

4%

My Thalys World and my miles

3%

Train Cancelled

6%

Transfer to distributor

6%

Other

5%

7) Assistance for persons with reduced mobility

Thalys offers various solutions to assist people with disabilities or reduced mobility:

  • Travellers can put in a request 48 hours in advance for assistance to board and get off the train on arrival. They can also request that an adapted taxi or car be booked or hired for them.
  • On board of each Thalys train, 2 places are specially equipped for wheelchairs in coaches 1, 11 and 21 (first class). These places have an alarm button to call the Train Manager if assistance is required. Wheelchair accessible toilet is located nearby.
  • A special fare is also available for persons travelling with a passenger with a disability or reduced mobility and for people travelling in a wheelchair: they are entitled to a Comfort 2 fare and travel in Comfort 1.

More information

1) Travel information and ticket sales

Before travel

Customers can request a copy of our Conditions of Carriage from our contact centre or find them on eurostar.com.

Our train times are always available online through the booking magnet on eurostar.com via the main page and travel info.

Information on ticket prices and conditions are always available via eurostar.com,and can also be obtained from our stations and contact centre, details of which can be found at the bottom of this document.

Information on accessibility, access conditions and availability of onboard facilities for disabled people and people with reduced mobility is available on request from all Eurostar stations, our contact centre and on eurostar.com.

Information on accessibility and access conditions for bicycles is also available from all Eurostar stations, our contact centre and on eurostar.com.

Information about incidents which cause significant disruption (i.e. delays of more than 60 minutes which affect more than one train) is available via our live travel information page on eurostar.com. Our contact centre can provide additional help for customers who are unable to use our website.

When services are severely disrupted, we will aim to issue information through travel bulletins on local radio and television, and also through social media such as Twitter. Live travel information is also available on eurostar.com.Customers can also opt in (at the time of booking) to receive updates by text and email about possible delays or service alterations, prior to their arrival at the departure station. In the event of a delay in which customers are eligible for compensation, this system is also used to inform customers about who they need to contact to receive this.

Information about our travel classes and availability of onboard services is available from all Eurostar stations, our contact centre and via eurostar.com.

To find out about procedures for reclaiming lost luggage customers can visit eurostar.com or contact the station where the item was last seen or where the train arrived.

During the journey

All our trains have clear signage above the internal doors at the end of each coach, giving information about the location and availability of onboard toilets and the bar coaches.

Customers can also ask any member of the Eurostar onboard team for this information.

Information regarding the next station will be announced onboard by our train managers.

In the case of delays the train manager will announce information at appropriate intervals.

The train manager will also make announcements about main connecting services.

Safety guideline leaflets can be found onboard, and the train manager will also make announcements shortly before departure. Further announcements are made shortly after departure. Train managers can also be contacted at all times via the team at the bar coaches.

Tickets

Buying tickets

Customers can buy tickets for travel in advance or on the day of travel by visiting eurostar.com, by calling our contact centre, or by visiting one of our stations in person.

Ticket refunds

Refunds of unused tickets are made through the original point of sale, provided the ticket purchased is refundable. Therefore, if the customer bought the ticket on eurostar.com and it is refundable, it may be refunded via eurostar.com.

If the customer has already taken part of a ticketed journey and is requesting a refund as a result of a cancellation or compensation for a delay for which compensation is payable, the refund is made by our Customer Care Team. We will aim to make such refunds within one month of a request and where not possible, no later than three months of a request.

If, before departure, it is reasonably expected that there will be a delay of 60 minutes or more on the Eurostar service, customers will be entitled to either a full refund or to postpone their journey to a later date. To claim the refund customers simply need to complete our online refund request form with details of the original ticket to change their booking customers can make the change directly through the Manage Your Booking section at eurostar.com.

2) Punctuality and cancellations

At Eurostar we set ourselves high standards of train punctuality and make every effort to get passengers to their destination on time. Our 2023 target is to ensure:

• 76% of trains arrive within 5 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.

• 86% of trains arrive within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.

There are occasions, usually outside of our control, where trains may be delayed or disrupted. When this is the case, this is how we will help customers:

Delays of 30 – 60 minutes affecting more than one service:

Updated announcements will be made within the station every 10 minutes.

Updated announcements will be made onboard the affected trains at appropriate intervals (usually every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes and at least every 15 minutes thereafter).

Information about connections and onward travel will be available from the train manager.

Delays in excess of 60 minutes affecting more than one service

Updated announcements will be made within the station every 10 minutes.

Updated announcements will be made onboard the affected trains at appropriate intervals (usually every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes and at least every 15 minutes thereafter).

Information and help regarding connections and onward travel will be available from the train manager.

The train manager will make an announcement regarding the reason for the delay, the effect on arrival times and whether compensation is applicable. Regular announcements about delay compensation will be made onboard the affected trains.

We will make every effort to give customers refreshments appropriate to the circumstances, location and duration of the delay.

Where possible, passengers will be assisted with rebooking onward connections. And as a member of the Railteam alliance, customers are entitled through the ‘Hop on the next available train’ agreement to take the next high-speed service leaving from the same station as originally planned when a delay or cancellation of a preceding Railteam member’s high-speed service results in the customer making their originally planned connection. This applies between high-speed services of Railteam alliance members.

Where possible, a taxi or hotel will be made available to customers on arrival when the delay occurs late at night and public transport is unavailable.

Where possible and subject to availability we will book hotels for customers who cannot reach their onward connection or final destination on the same day and are unable to make their own arrangements.

Delays in excess of 60 minutes affecting the majority of services

When major disruptions occur, we will do our best to help our travellers with onward connections, refreshments, hotels and taxis. As well as the usual communication channels we will also provide further information through the local press and eurostar.com so customers can decide whether they still wish to continue their journey as booked.

Delay Compensation Policy

For delays to Eurostar services, we will make the following compensation available to customers:

Delays of 60-119 minutes
We offer a Eurostar e-voucher (“e-voucher”) worth 30% of the affected leg. Alternatively, customers may claim a 25% refund of the affected leg of the journey.*

Delays of 120-179 minutes
We offer a Eurostar e-voucher (“e-voucher”) worth 60% of the affected leg. Alternatively, customers may claim a 50% refund of the affected leg of the journey.*

Delays of 180 minutes or more
We offer a Eurostar e-voucher (“e-voucher”) worth 75% of the affected leg. Alternatively, customers may claim a 50% refund of the affected leg of the journey.*

*This will be calculated based on the price actually paid by you for the leg of the journey subject to the delay

If customers choose an e-voucher, they have three months from the date of the delay to claim it and 12 months from the date of the delay to redeem it on a new journey. To claim, customers can go to compensation.eurostar.com.

Partial refunds will be provided by way of a bank transfer or refund to the original credit card used and must be claimed within three months of the delay on our website, using the details of the original ticket.

To apply for a refund, customers should submit their request online.

Punctuality Performance

Year to date results for April 2022 to the end of March 2023 are:

• 69.6% our trains arrived with less than 5 minutes delay

• 82.3% trains arrive within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time

Cancellation of trains

When trains are cancelled, we provide the same information and help we give to customers affected by delays, and the same compensation policy applies.

If a train is cancelled and as a result there will be a delay on arrival at the destination station of 60 minutes or more, customers will be entitled to either a full refund of their ticket for the affected journey if they choose not to travel or can postpone their journey to a later date or time. If they travel on the next available service, the same day they are entitled to delay compensation if they arrive with an overall delay of 60 minutes or more.

3) Cleanliness

Train cleaning

Our trains are cleaned after each commercial service and undertake periodic deep cleaning operations. On some services we have in-journey cleaners that focus on maintaining the overall level of cleanliness en route. We conduct several independent train cleaning audits each month across our locations and our suppliers also conduct their own audits against the same criteria.

Train cleaning audits are carried out against an agreed criteria for 'What good looks like' and allocated a score of good, satisfactory or unacceptable. Appropriate weighting is applied to the scoring and any overall audit score below 95% is 7 considered unacceptable. During periods of major disruption, the specification is slightly modified to reduce the delay of the subsequent journey, however all priority items are cleaned after every journey. The monthly KPI target for cleaning audits is 95%.

Performance: on board cleaning

The on-board cleaning target for 2022 was 92% (customers rating the on-board cleanliness as good, very good and outstanding). Overall result for 2022 was 89.81%%. Target for 2023 is 92%. The monthly Customer Satisfaction survey is run by Kokoro on behalf of Eurostar.

Stations

Our Stations are also deep cleaned regularly and there are always cleaners present during our hours of operation to keep the station environment as clean, safe and clear of litter as possible. Each month we conduct audits of our stations. All of these audits are accompanied by a representative from the cleaning supplier.

Air conditioning

Our trains are equipped with air conditioning. Should this fail, our train manager will do everything he or she can to move customers to an alternative coach.

4) Customer satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction Survey

We continuously monitor customer satisfaction through a range of different methods. We use a post-journey online survey to ask customers what they think about the key aspects of their Eurostar experience, their satisfaction with each stage of the customer journey as well as their experience of interacting with Eurostar staff. We also ask customers how likely they are to recommend Eurostar (NPS). This survey is conducted by the independent market research agency Kokoro. We give all our customers (for whom we have email addresses for) the opportunity to complete this survey and usually obtain a c.10% response rate. The questionnaire takes around 10- 15 minutes to complete.

We also utilise Usabilla on Eurostar.com to get live feedback from customers when they are using our website; this allows us to make enhancements to our website based on customer feedback.

Ad-hoc research including quantitative surveys, qualitative methods and ethnography is deployed to fill the gaps in the business’ knowledge not covered by the above.

All this customer feedback is used across the business by senior management to direct long-term strategy, and tactically by customer-facing teams to help improve customer service.

5) Complaints and compensation

Our Customer Care Team is here to correspond with customers who are unhappy with their experience of Eurostar. Complaints and feedback are raised to responsible managers for comment, investigation and remedial action as required. Appropriate compensation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We will use the customer’s preferred contact method when responding to a complaint.

Information on how to submit a complaint regarding our services is available via eurostar.com.

Between 1 st April 2022 and 31st March 2023 our Customer Care team received 4489 customer contacts that were logged as a complaint. This represented 7% of the team’s overall written customer contact. Our response times are kept under review and whilst the average response time was within 30 days, due to the continuing resumption of international travel post-pandemic it was higher than we would have wanted. This prompted an action plan which successfully reduced the wait time our customers had temporarily experienced for the earlier part of the year.

We also track customer satisfaction through our customer survey monitoring and this gives us data and insight that has helped drive our continuous improvement plans. Some examples of improvement actions taken in 2022/23 are:

• A series of ongoing improvement actions to improve onboard comfort including toilet and air conditioning performance

• Addition of additional seating in our London lounge

The table below shows a breakdown of the top ten reasons for complaints dealt with by our Customer Care team between 1st April 2022 until 3 1stMarch 2023. This team also responds in cases where customers praise our service and also passes on suggestions for changes to services as well as complaints and requests for compensation due to delays.

Types of complaint – breakdown by theme

Top 10 complaints (April 2022 – End of March 2023)

We also track any complaints we receive related to special assistance and this represented 1.7% of the complaints received during this period.

SubjectPercentage

Disruption - Delays and cancellations

17.1%

Stations - Congestion and queues

10.9%

Website or app issues

7.5%

Customer communication

7.0%

Onboard catering

6.0%

Onboard - Toilets

3.7%

Customer policy

3.2%

Station staff - St Pancras

3.2%

Onboard-seating

3.2%

Stations staff - Paris Gare du Nord

2.2%

6) Assistance

For customers with a disability or reduced mobility we offer assistance on departure and arrival, with 2 options as follows:

1. Pre booking
For a guaranteed assistance booking on the day of travel, we ask customers to pre book at least 48 hours before their journey and arrive 75 minutes before departure.

To pre book an assistance customers can either:

• Call our contact centre on +44 (0)3432 186 186 - Select your language then option 4.

• Email us directly at: contactus@eurostar.com with “Assisted travel” in the subject line.

Or

• On our website, select the “contact us” tab, followed by the “email” tab and fill out the “contact us form”, selecting “Assistance” in the category dropdown menu

2. Turn-up-and-go
If pre booking 48 hours in advance is not possible, we ask our customers to arrive at least 75 minutes before departure – this is a non-guaranteed assistance booking, therefore we may have to change the customers initial ticket to a later departing train. Any ticket changes in these circumstances are made with no charge to the customer.

Customers who are disabled or have reduced mobility have the following services available to them:

• An assistance welcome point at each station.

• Wheelchair provision (if required) to take the customer through from checkin to the train.

• Assistance through check-in, security, and immigration authorities.

• Help boarding the train.

• Help disembarking from the train.

• Help with x2 bags, with a maximum weight limit of 15kg per bag.

• Assistance for the entire journey, if making a connection when booked at least 48 hours in advance.

Comprehensive information about the assistance services we provide and what to expect when travelling with us can be found on eurostar.com.

7) Details of ticket office opening hours and European contact centre availability

Contact Centre opening times

Eurostar Contact Centre - UK

Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00

UK Bank Holidays, 08:00 to 15:30

Closed at weekends.

08432 186186

The Assisted travel line is open as above. Phone number is 08432 186186 then select your language and then option 4.

Eurostar Contact Centre – France

Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 18:00

UK Bank Holidays, 09:00 to 16:30

Closed at weekends.

11 01 70 70 60 88

Eurostar Contact Centre - Belgium

Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 18:00

UK Bank Holidays, 09:00 to 16:30

Closed at weekends.

01 70 70 60 88

Eurostar Contact Centre - Netherlands

Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 18:00 UK

Bank Holidays, 09:00 to 16:30

Closed at weekends.

02 071 68 325

Ticket Office opening times

London St Pancras

Self-service ticket machines are available with staff members on hand to offer further assistance when needed during operating hours 04:30-19:45 Monday to Friday, 05:15-19:45 on Saturdays, and 06:45-19:45 on Sundays

Paris Ticket Office

Monday to Sunday, 06:00 to 21:00 (closes at 20:00 on Saturdays)

Brussels Ticket Office

Monday to Sunday, 05:45 to 21:30

Lille Ticket Office

Monday to Sunday, 08:30 to 21:30 (closes at 21:00 on Saturdays)

Please note ticket office opening times are shown above up to April 2023 but are subject to change in line with operational changes.