Misery of ‘never-on-time’ commuters


Published: Tuesday 13th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Commuters on this morning’s 7.29am train from Brighton to London Victoria appeared resigned to their fate rather than frustrated as they made their daily journey to the capital.

The news that that particular Southern train service has been called “the worst in Britain” did not come as a shock to those who are used to regular delays and disruption.

Southern confirmed this week that based on the right-time measure, none of its 7.29am Brighton to London Victoria trains had reached the capital at the scheduled time of 8.35am.

It also said the train before it, the 7.14am Brighton to London, only got in on time on 1% of occasions, while the train after, the 7.44am, was on time on only 2% of occasions.

A spokesman for Southern said: “We acknowledge that the performance of the 7.29am Brighton to London Victoria service has been particularly disappointing.

“This is a train that we know has a poor PPM (public performance measure) record and although we’re working hard to improve its performance, its planned path is extremely tight because the network is so busy.”

While passengers on this morning’s train said they were frustrated with the continued failure of the service to arrive on time, many said they had come to expect it, as had their employers, who were used to them regularly arriving at work at least 15 to 20 minutes late.

Alex Haygarth, 39, from Brighton, said before the story broke he had spoken to his wife about his frustration at never getting to work on time.

He said: “This service is consistently 10 to 15 minutes late and that can have an impact at the other end.

“I make my journey to my job in Soho by bike which is often quicker, even when negotiating London traffic.

“It’s very frustrating, especially when I pay a fortune for an annual season ticket; I expect a better service.”

This morning’s 7.29am train was only half full, it left Brighton on time, and everyone had a seat.

But by the time it reached Haywards Heath it was already running a few minutes late after getting stuck behind a service from Seaford, East Sussex.

Congestion on the line around East Croydon meant that the service eventually arrived into Victoria eight minutes late.

Southern had obviously taken heed of the news coverage, apologising over the tannoy system for the “frustration regular delays to this service” causes its customers.

Tim Waddell, who has been making the journey into London for 29 years and regularly gets this train, said: “This train is slow but that’s often down to the trains in front of us causing the delay.

“The first two days I attempted to get this train last week it was cancelled, so that says it all.

“Since this service was introduced the trains definitely do not run on time.

“The main problem is people getting on at Gatwick who never get a seat. In some cases people do not get a seat from Haywards Heath.”

Rebecca Francis, 37, claimed she had not arrived at work in Marylebone on time for the past three months because of the late-running service.

She said: “It’s at least 10 minutes late on a daily basis.

“Between October and December last year I had to apply for delay repay compensation at least five times for this train, and also for late running services coming the other way.

“I do not think I have been on time for work for the past three months.

“I have, on occasion, got an earlier train if I have an important meeting I can’t be late for, but why should I have to get up at 5am to catch an earlier train to work just because this service never gets in on time?

“Southern needs to reschedule the service so that it does get into London at a reasonable time. It needs to be looked at.

“Do not increase our fares when the service is so terrible.”

Published: Tuesday 13th January 2015 by The News Editor

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