YOU probably already suspected it but now it's official - Southeastern is the worst train service in the whole country.

The company came joint bottom in a survey of of more than 7,000 regular travellers' satisfaction by Which? magazine.

For both Southeastern and Greater Anglia the satisfaction score was only 40 per cent.

And the company caused further controversy after a spokesman appeared to tell the Metro newspaper that part of the blame was down to commuters' attitudes, saying it "takes people somewhere they don't want to be with money they don't want to pay."

A spokeswoman qualified that statement today, saying: "We operate largely a commuter service that's very different to some of the other companies listed in the Which? survey that operate a leisure service."

And they said: "We’re disappointed with the result of the Which? survey, but we’ve had a challenging few months with bad weather and infrastructure problems affecting services and so it’s understandable that customers have expressed their frustration through this survey."

She added that the company had fared considerably better in the recent independent National Passenger Survey.

Ten of the 19 companies had satisfaction scores of less than 50 per cent, with Merseyrail (70 per cent) the best-performing company.

The overall satisfaction scores were based on satisfaction with a company and the likelihood of customers recommending the company. On average, those surveyed had travelled by train 32 times in the previous 12 months.

Which? also asked what passengers felt would improve their journeys and what they would be prepared to pay more for.

Lower ticket prices were top of the wanted list (60 per cent), with 80 per cent saying fares were too high. People also wanted to see more carriages at peak times (35 per cent), promotions on ticket prices (29 per cent), wi-fi as standard (20 per cent ) and improved punctuality and reliability (18 per cent - rising to 29 per cent for commuters only.)

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "It's disappointing to see some train companies consistently falling down on the basics of customer service, with dirty and overcrowded carriages and toilets that don't work.

"Seven rail franchises end in the next two years and we want to see passengers' experiences put right at the heart of the tender process so companies respond to consumer expectations and can be held to account if they don't."

A spokesman for the rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group said: "As we acknowledged last month when the independent watchdog's far more comprehensive survey found that more than four out of five passengers were satisfied with their overall journey, the industry needs to build on the improvements it has delivered over the last 15 years.

"We are always keen to get feedback from customers, whether good or bad, which has helped the industry attract record numbers of passengers and cut complaints by three quarters in a decade."