HOGRIDER 142 (JANUARY-MARCH 2014) PART 1
Part 1 contains evidence-based reports, research and analysis from the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group [SHRUG]
Part 2 on our website [www.shrug.info] contains snapshots of SWT’s massive performance failures, including phenomenal numbers of scheduled stops axed to boost statistics.
In addition, see our website for an evidence-based 15,000 word history of SWT which records the views of Ministers, MPs, regulatory bodies, rail experts, user groups and individual passengers.
Indicators of DfT’s indifference to SWT’s operational anarchy,
as SWT admits onboard passengers may not be told their stop is axed.
SWT in the passenger satisfaction league: facts and figures
Commons debate on Britain’s 78th-best rail service
SWT fails to meet punctuality targets throughout the winter
SWT off-peak tickets for non-London journeys.
Are the broadly 1% reductions designed to generate penalty fares?
Letter from a Guildford rail user to Anne Milton MP illustrates
the enduring Stagecoach ‘Cowboy Country’ of the 1996 documentary
PR disaster as SWT’s ‘Winter Smiles’ offer causes misery
Adverse weather – SWT ignores Prime Minister’s promise
Background to massive weekend shutdowns at Southampton
SWT staff rebel over poor service to the public
Help for pregnant women on SWT depends on right kind of ticket
Ticket vending problems on SWT (January-March)
SWT Webchat event 18.3.2014
Passengers’ voices of despair (Twitter)
More serious safety failures on Stagecoach buses
Indicators of DfT’s indifference to SWT’s operational anarchy,
as SWT admits onboard passengers may not be told their stop is axed
Cutting stops no longer means that trains are recorded as cancelled
In the previous edition we noted how SWT’s high scores for ‘reliability’ (trains which actually run) were at odds with stops being axed from even marginally-late services. This boosts punctuality statistics by getting trains in place for their next journey. Extraordinary numbers of stops are now omitted. No station is unaffected when this happens: every axed stop removes a travel opportunity to or from every station where a stop is honoured.
It is clear from Twitter that passengers already on board can waste a lot of time when the changes are not announced, the intercom is faulty, or they are using headphones. Note Stagecoach’s arrogant indifference, from these tweets on 15th March:
[Caller] “Well done SWT for changing the stopping pattern and not telling the guard! He found out as we sailed past my station.”
[Response] “It's not always possible to get in contact with the guard as there is no signal on parts of the network. Apologies.”
So why do drivers get the information when guards don’t? And what about frail and disabled people who are carried past their destination? This looks like double standards at DfT: one for Stagecoach’s bus passengers and one for their rail passengers. The Hartlepool News of 12/1/2014 reported:
“A transport minister has urged a North-East bus firm to buy new vehicles – after hearing its buses failed the frail and disabled. Robert Goodwill intervened after Hartlepool MP Iain Wright described how buses run by Stagecoach let passengers down on “choice, quality and provision”. The Labour MP said: “Hartlepool does not have a public transport system - not really. It has a private sector monopolistic service, run by Stagecoach. It disregards choice, quality and provision of service and concentrates on profit at the expense of passengers, especially those with disabilities.”
In the past, cutting stops meant that train services were treated as cancelled. Not now. Note this conversation from SWT’s Twitter on 30/01/2014:
Passenger: “Thanks SWT for cancelling all stops on the Kingston to Waterloo. Only half the train needed Clapham Junction, so who cares. Why not stop there?
Response: “It had to run fast to prevent further delays to services this train will form, you can circulate via Waterloo. Apologies.”
Passenger: “Just stop at Clapham Junction as you're going through it! Poor. Will this train be recorded as a cancelled service in terms of targets?”
Response: “It will be recorded as a delayed service, we would have stopped but the turnaround time at Waterloo is too tight.”
The passengers unwillingly transported through to Waterloo are likely to be delayed by 30 minutes to one hour, especially those who needed to connect into another train at Clapham Junction. However, SWT’s reliability score is unaffected, and their ‘performance’ (punctuality) score is improved by the train not being late on its next scheduled turn. It’s hard to believe that DfT officials don’t know this is happening.
Infringements of ticket office queuing times ignored
Passengers can face very long delays at SWT’s ticket offices, and ticket machines are often faulty or woefully inadequate for the scale of demand at busier times. Twitter is a major source of evidence, as are the reports of conditions at Guildford station which we have published from time to time.
Closure of travel centres has considerably exacerbated the problems, because ticket clerks now have to deal with a wide range of complex enquiries, and reduced opening hours and unstaffed stations mean a greater concentration of enquiries where and when staff are available. It didn’t help during the past winter that SWT’s Customer Services weren’t properly staffed, so that an already unsatisfactory response time of up to 20 days generally extended to two months or more.
Instructive article in Today’s Railways UK, March 2014 edition:
"Five minutes' wait the maximum at ticket offices
An interesting exchange between Bolton North East Labour MP David Crausby and Transport Minister Stephen Hammond suggests that passengers who have to wait more than five minutes to book a ticket should complain.
Mr Crausby asked how many times since May 2010 the Transport Secretary had used his statutory powers to require train operators to comply with the terms of their franchise agreements to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that passengers do not have to queue at a ticket office for more than five minutes during periods of peak demand, or for more than three minutes at any other time.
He was told that the Transport Secretary "expects operators to comply with these requirements and will take appropriate action, including enforcement action, where it is necessary to do so." However he was assured that the enforcement powers have not been used since May 2010 "because it has not been necessary to do so."
In the case of SWT, the lack of enforcement by DfT appears to be not through lack of evidence or necessity, but through administrative lethargy or to avoid political embarrassment.
Passenger dissatisfaction contradicts government expectations
On 17/2/2014 many papers reported further findings by the Consumers Association that passenger satisfaction with some train operating companies, such as SWT, is less than 50%. The Guardian’s report states: “The rail minister, Stephen Hammond said: “Passengers have every right to expect trains to arrive on time and be clean, and while this can be a challenge, I expect operators to do all they can.”
Note the weasel word: Passengers have every right to ‘expect’ trains to be punctual and clean, and the minister ‘expects’ operators do all they can.
How can anyone seriously believe that an ethically-limited company such as Stagecoach will bother with what government or passengers ‘expect’? For relevant evidence, there is no need to look further than the parallel use of ‘expect’ in Stagecoach’s most recent SWT re-franchising success. DfT’s press release declared: “It is expected that many regulated season tickets into London will be discounted for passengers travelling outside the height of peak times.”
Great expectation; nil delivery. Instead, Stagecoach introduced a 20% surcharge on off-peak trains arriving in London before noon. It also increased the premium for first class travel from 50% to 80% and raised car parking charges by up to 21%. Possibly today’s ministers aren’t aware how Stagecoach director Brian Cox sneered at Stagecoach critics as ‘fully paid up members of the Hindsight Club’ over fifteen years ago.
The High Court was more circumspect when it refused, on public interest grounds, to ban broadcasting of the World in Action’s ‘Cowboy Country’ programme about Stagecoach’s business practices. If the judiciary can understand the Stagecoach ethos, why can’t government?
With the SWT franchise now likely to run until 2019, Stagecoach doesn’t need to bother too much about what passengers think. In any case, would it particularly want to keep SWT? It has made huge profits over the years and removed virtually every element of quality [See our ‘History of SWT’ on www.shrug.info]. Short of removing carriage seats altogether, there is little more scope for asset stripping. However, should it win the exceptionally big Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern combined franchise, it would have huge scope. That would be yet another victory for greed and disaster for passengers.
SWT in the passenger satisfaction league: facts and figures
A considerable body of evidence indicates that Stagecoach’s SWT is one of the worst passenger operating companies and, as Twitter nowadays confirms, passengers find it ‘unacceptable’ time after time. This view has persisted from the start of rail privatisation, as is reflected in the evidence-based history of SWT on our website (www.shrug.info). SWT’s own on-line poll revealed that only about 30% of users thought Stagecoach should have kept the franchise in 2007.
A new survey from the Consumers Association gives SWT scores of 45% for overall customer satisfaction and 39% for commuter satisfaction. The latest National Passenger Survey by PassengerFocus gives SWT 81% for overall satisfaction.
Why the difference? The Consumers Association focuses on frequent or regular passengers’ experiences, whereas PassengerFocus asks only about the journey the passenger has just made. PassengerFocus’ approach masks the fact that frequent passengers need their service to be ‘reliable’ in the ordinary sense of the word. 81% satisfaction with the ‘journey just made’ in effect means two unsatisfactory journeys a week for a regular commuter. That can have knock-on effects for productivity at work, social life, and stress. A recent report from the Office of National Statistics has confirmed that such negative effects experienced by longer-distance commuters.
Former Secretary of State, Dr Brian Mawhinney, presented rail privatisation in terms of the responsiveness to customers of the Sainsburys of this world. Anyone who took home two unsatisfactory products every week from Sainsburys would soon turn elsewhere. SWT’s passengers don’t have that choice.
It follows that scoring by PassengerFocus and the Consumers Association’ is not necessarily contradictory. PassengerFocus’ ‘value for money’ scores, unlike their ‘overall satisfaction’ scores, will reflect passengers’ feelings beyond the journey they have just made. SWT scores just 37%, which is remarkably close to the Consumers Association’s score of 39% for commuter satisfaction.
So the real satisfaction scores for SWT’s regular or frequent users are consistently in the range 30%-39% (30% who thought Stagecoach should have kept the franchise; 37% who think SWT gives value for money; and 39% with overall satisfaction.
Comparative value for money : SWT scrapes the barrel
PassengerFocus’ statistics divide satisfaction scores for the 23 train operators into ‘satisfied or good’, ‘neither/nor’ and ‘dissatisfied or poor’ categories. On ‘value for money’ SWT is joint-third worst in both the ‘satisfied or good’ and ‘dissatisfied or poor’ categories.
Turning to ‘value for money’ on individual routes, SWT’s Portsmouth services are 78th best out of 79, with a depressing satisfaction score of 29%. Six of SWT’s routes are in the bottom 20% nationally with scores of 40% or less.
Stagecoach’s PR lines on value for money
When fares soar every year, SWT’s line on Twitter is that fare levels are principally down to government, and most of the profits go back to Treasury for investment in the national rail network.
That’s a convenient half-truth. Government caps rises for certain fares, including season tickets. Operators are presumably not obliged to introduce fare increases up to the cap, or to increase unregulated fares. And why, in the case of SWT, does so much money go back to government? Precisely because SWT had become such a cash cow for Stagecoach that they offered around £600 million more for the franchise than the other bidders. Passengers pay the price and Stagecoach continues to rake off big profits. It gets worse, for big sums by way of ‘revenue support’ (£127m in 2012-13 per RAIL Issue 740), are offsetting the premiums to government so as to protect Stagecoach from below-forecast revenue.
Statistics challenging myths
It has been widely accepted long-distance passengers will be more satisfied than those on local commuter services. Yet Merseyrail has excelled in the statistics, and become the Consumer Association’s first ‘Recommended Provider’. And it has done so with a fleet of second-hand trains, many cascaded from the suburban routes which are now part of SWT. Why? This Northern Excellence website entry for 7/1/2014 offers a cogent explanation:
‘Merseyrail has become the first train operation to be awarded the 'Putting the Customer First' accreditation mark, the national standard for customer service. The organization gained the standard, which is valid for two years, on the first attempt.
Assessors found out first-hand what it is really like to be a Merseyrail customer by travelling extensively round the network, which carries around 110,000 passengers every weekday. They also interviewed over 70 members of staff from different sectors of the business.
Ted Stone, chief executive of Customer First, commented: "Merseyrail has adopted a business approach that puts its customers at the heart of everything it does. It is a great example of an organization that genuinely puts its customers first."
Celebrating the win, Maarten Spaargaren, Merseyrail's managing director, said: "Providing an excellent experience to customers and ensuring that their journey is pleasant and hassle-free underpins all our work. Our results for passenger satisfaction are already the envy of the industry and achieving this accreditation is the icing on the cake."
Chair of Merseyrail Councillor Liam Robinson added: "We are committed to providing the people of Merseyside with a first class rail service and customer service to match. I'm delighted that Merseyrail has been awarded the 'Putting the Customer First' accreditation mark, which recognizes this commitment."
Compare the above with SWT. Far from the stated government aspiration for train operators to be responsive to passengers, SWT is totally inflexible, for example in putting operational convenience before the timetable, using suburban stock on long-distance routes, dealing with the needs of disabled or people, and penalising passengers who make genuine mistakes about ticket validity even when only a few pence or spurious rules are at stake. All this combines to make travel unpleasant and hassle-ridden.
As for passenger representation, the website of the Stagecoach-controlled SWT Passengers Panel appears to be derelict, with no new items added for the best part of a year. This may be a sanction against the Panel for having dared to publish a couple of highly critical letters from commuters. The sole current activity on the website is a poll on whether SWT trains are getting cleaner or dirtier. At mid-March scores of people had responded, with 11% saying ‘cleaner’ and 54% saying ‘dirtier’. Twitter refers to cockroaches.
Commons debate on Britain’s 78th-best rail service
PassengerFocus’ Autumn 2013 National Rail Survey shows SWT’s Portsmouth services as scoring 29% for satisfaction with ‘value for money of the price of your ticket’. This is 78th best out of 79 routes. Only the niche Stansted Express is worse, at 28%. Interestingly, Southern’s slower coastal services, which include Portsmouth, scored 40%.
Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt very appropriately raised another debate on the issue on 12.3.2014. Excerpts containing the gist of her excellent speech, as recorded in Hansard, are below.
“When making the case for High Speed 2, the Government have pointed out that the number of passenger miles travelled on the national rail network has increased from 20 billion in 1992-93 to 36 billion in 2012-13; the number of rail passenger journeys has increased from 976 million in 2002-03 to 1.502 billion in 2012-13, a 54% increase; and inter-city journeys have increased from 77 million to 128 million in the same period, an increase of 65%. As is well known, the rail-using public pay handsomely to make those 128 million journeys, and many of them feel that they are not getting value for money when they must travel in discomfort caused by standing or an inadequate seat.
On the London-Portsmouth line the discomfort debate centres on the vexed matter of the blue 450 Desiro carriages. South West Trains introduced the carriages in significant numbers in 2006 to address overcrowding on the trains made up of 444 Desiro carriages, arguing that a rake of 12 450s has 140 more standard-class seats than a rake of 10 444s. To justify the move, SWT used the passengers in excess of capacity surveys conducted in 2005 and 2006. There are two problems with the rationale: one a flaw in SWT’s logic and the other a flaw in its argument.
First, South West Trains contends that by substituting a rake of 450s for a rake of 444s, 140 standing passengers will be allowed to sit. For example, the 5.50 am train from Portsmouth Harbour showed a peak count of 164 standing passengers. When the 450s were introduced, SWT supposed that that would leave only 24 people standing. On paper that seems to work, and when replying to the previous debate, the then Minister seemed to agree with the premise that the 450s mean fewer standing passengers between Woking and Waterloo. However, in practice, matters are not so simple. The 444 carriages are four seats wide - two either side of a wide aisle and all with armrests, so there is space between each seat. The seats are mostly arranged in an airline style and one can face a fellow passenger only across a table. The tables and personal space allowed by the wide seats permit commuters to work or take refreshment in acceptable comfort. What is more, each and every one of the 299 seats in a 10-carriage rake can be used.”
“The tedium is repeated day after day for Portsmouth commuters. The notion that there will be an increase of 140 seats when a 10-carriage rake of 444s is replaced by a 12-carriage rake of 450s is total fantasy. The 450 carriages have five seats squeezed across their width arranged in a three-plus-two format with a narrow gangway in between. There is no space between seats and there are no armrests; many passengers must travel face to face and literally knee to knee. Laughably, South West Trains’ own ergonomic investigation found that 59% of passengers do not fit within the confines of the seats “when their elbows are taken into account”.
Simply put, that means that nearly 60% of people do not fit because, unfortunately, human evolution has not kept pace with South West Trains’ aspirations and Britons have stubbornly refused to mutate into the armless monopods for whom the company would clearly prefer to cater.
The consequence of the dimensions of the seats on a 450 is that only three of the five seats across the width of the carriage can be used if those seats are occupied by what we might call three 59ers—those among the 59% who do not fit. If only three seats in a carriage can be comfortably used on a 450 rake, there are, coincidentally, only 444 available places to sit—some 150 or so fewer than in the original rake of 444 carriages. In practice, it is not at all clear that the 450s will reduce the number of standing passengers. In addition, Portsmouth passengers are obliged to make a 97-minute inter-city journey in a carriage that is uncomfortable and was specifically designed for shorter, suburban routes.
Obviously, crowding happens when the train is nearest London, as the vast majority of passengers will use the Waterloo terminus. Arguably, the 450s are suitable for the 45 minutes nearest London, when the train is busiest. Passengers joining so close to the capital can take the discomfort and violation of personal space for a time, it is thought. However, how many of them would rather stand than cram themselves into the uninviting middle seat of what is, without gaps between seats, effectively a 129cm bench? Those seats are no more comfortable for the suburban than the inter-city commuter; the discomfort is simply reduced by the shorter journey.
On the criterion of delivering more seats, the use of the 450 carriages is on shaky ground. We might have the same number of seats, or fewer, but we certainly have many more discontented passengers. It is little wonder that, in a survey of Twitter activity last year, South West Trains was found to be the most complained-about operator in the country.
Even if we accept the South West Trains rationale at face value and assume that all the extra seats can be used to relieve overcrowding, the case still does not add up. If the only reason for bringing in the 450s on just under 50% of week-day services was to address overcrowding, we are entitled to wonder why all but one train on the line, up or down, is formed of 450 carriages on Saturdays, when there is no danger of overcrowding.
In reply to me last time, the then Minister explained that South West Trains was obliged to lease the new Siemens rolling stock under a section 54 undertaking, but it was also confirmed that the train operating company can deploy the sets as it will. Why, then, park all the 444s and force all passengers to travel in discomfort? A possible answer comes from an anonymous Siemens employee who provided the “No to 450” campaign with evidence to suggest that the 444 services were replaced by the 450s so that the mileage on the 444 carriages would fall into a cheaper maintenance bracket, saving South West Trains some £2 million a year.
The consequence is that the passenger pays the same for a less good service and can be obliged to travel for over an hour-and-a-half on a train that was never intended for such a route and causes extreme discomfort. Furthermore, the commuters from Woking to Waterloo—the very people whom South West Trains and the Government argue are helped by the 450s—still might not get a seat or will have to take a very undesirable seat.
That is not a problem to South West Trains, reasoning as it does that the inadequacies of the 450s are merely “a comfort issue not a health risk”. That is not only an unsatisfactory attitude to the welfare of my constituents, but not entirely correct either, as visits to chiropractors for regular users are not unknown. Indeed, I handed a dossier of correspondence that I received from hundreds of passengers on the line to the then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), which detailed the health complaints attributed to the specification of the 450 carriages.
My constituents and I are realistic enough to recognise that whole-scale change will not happen, but there is a change that could be made in the short term that would do much to relieve the strain on south coast commuters. Using the latitude to deploy carriage sets as it will, South West Trains should provide for a half-hourly express service between Portsmouth and Waterloo, which is made up of 10 444 carriages. As an express, it would not stop in the suburban commuter belt and, as it would be at the same times each week day, Portsmouth residents could adjust their routine to catch it, thereby relieving the crush for suburban commuters on stopping services. South West Trains might even use its imagination to give the service a name, recalling a more charming railway age. The “Portsmouth Flyer” or the “Navy Express” would do nicely. That is a modest request, and one that I hope the Minister will join me in urging upon South West Trains.
The situation on the London to Portsmouth line is symptomatic of the way the privatised railway network is configured. The forces of competition, which should benefit the customer, only work when there is a viable alternative to railway travel, or a particular railway route. In the case of Portsmouth, some alternative is offered by the improved road network and the longer journey by rail into Victoria. For most, there is simply no option but to take the train to Waterloo.
The moment of most intense competition in the privatised rail network, when market forces can have the greatest positive impact on the rail passenger’s experience, comes during the tendering process for a rail franchise. After that, the impetus of competition within the sector principally benefits the train operating company or its supplier. For example, passengers have not benefited from South West Train's apparent decision to save money by limiting the use of 444 carriages, and they have not seen a reduction in ticket price or an improved service in the light of the cheaper lease cost of the 450s. It is incumbent on the Government to use the competitive forces of the tendering process to drive the best deal for passengers, and the best way to do that is to give passengers a voice in the process.
What consideration has the Department made of how to involve passengers in the tender process? I would also like to see, as you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and the Department for Transport know, comfort requirements included in new rail franchise agreements. It is a cause of some bewilderment to me that when contracting for services that have to carry passengers the length of the country there is no criteria for the standard of comfort they should expect on different sorts of journey. The fact that rolling stock manufacturers produce different classes of carriage shows that the industry recognises the different demands of suburban and inter-city travel and it should do in the rail franchise agreements.”
In response, Stephen Hammond focused on changes to the franchising process. Some of the more salient points were:
* Wider consultation promised on setting objectives for new franchises.
* Members of Parliament, local authorities and other local groups now have a chance to make a significant contribution to, and have a significant impact on, the franchise specifications.
* Franchise bids will in future be judged on the quality of service passengers will receive as well as financial considerations. The quality aspects could be a tie-breaker in the assessment of bids which are closely matched.
* The quality judgments will need to include whether the balance between capacity and the comfort of passengers is right.
* A faster Portsmouth service would be possible under the new franchise process.
* [Echoing John Prescott] The interests of passengers are central to the franchise competition.
* The Government recognises the plight of Portsmouth commuters and recognises that some changes are possible.
SWT fails to meet punctuality targets throughout the winter
Remember that these figures exclude incidents beyond the operator’s control and ‘void days’.
Mainline score.[Charter standard 89%]
8.12.2013 – 4.1.2014: 85.3%
5.1.2014 -1.2.2014: 83.3%
2.2.2014 - 1.3.2014: 80%.
Suburban score.[Charter standard 92%]
8.12.2013 – 4.1.2014: 84.2%
5.1.2014 -1.2.2014: 85.1%
2.2.2014 - 1.3.2014: 87.6%.
SWT off-peak tickets for non-London journeys.
Are the broadly 1% reductions designed to generate penalty fares?
How much do SWT’s passengers save by making their regional day trips outside peak periods? The answer is often around a penny in the pound. Some peak day return fares with off-peak fares in brackets: Southampton-Basingstoke £14.50 (£14.30); Southampton-Bournemouth £14.10 (£14.00); Southampton-Ryde Esplanade £29.70 (£29.60); Southampton-Weymouth £26.40 (£26.20).
How does this compare with other operators’ fares? Southampton-Oxford, set by First Great Western but operated by Cross Country: £37.20 (£31.50); Southampton-Bath, set and operated by First Great Western: £25.30 (no off-peak fare, but a pre-booked Advance ticket costs £15.60). Southampton-Brighton or Eastbourne, set by Southern: £26.00 (£15.00).
It’s doubtful whether many people would restrict their travel times to save a few pence. Passengers will only make a significant saving by travelling off-peak on SWT if they have a railcard. Many of these passengers will be eligible only for a Network Card, which costs £30 a year and, on Mondays to Fridays, isn’t valid until 10.00 and has a minimum fare of £13 (equivalent to around £19.50 before the one-third discount).
The complexities of rail fares are a national sore. It is difficult to see any purpose in SWT’s non-London off-peak rates, other than to enable Stagecoach to gather penalty fares of £20 or more from people who under-pay by a few pence, for example by travelling on the last train before the off-peak threshold, and being treated as not having a valid ticket. With the Government keen to simplify rail fares, and Passenger Focus renewing its concerns about the ruthless treatment of passengers who unintentionally breach fares rules, wouldn’t it be a good time for SWT to end token fare differentials between peak and off-peak travel?
Letter from a Guildford rail user to Anne Milton MP illustrates
the enduring Stagecoach ‘Cowboy Country’ of the 1996 documentary
[From Jeremy Varns, 20 March 2014]
I wish to update you on my most recent experiences using South West Trains and First Great Western. I apologise in advance for the length of the letter but have felt it necessary to reference my comments where possible. I have also summarised the issues of concern on the first page.
Why are passengers being asked to fund the profits and inefficiencies of the railways? Fares should be funding future improvements and building resilience into the network; this is something that is clearly less of a priority than paying dividends. The network repeatedly shuts down because of wind and rain; something that happens every winter. Every time it snows or gets too cold, the infrastructure simply cannot cope. The current system is not sustainable and is already pricing many low to middle income earners off the railway, myself included. Those who have no choice in using the railways are facing transport poverty. Hardly the basis for improving social mobility and economic development is it?
Overcrowding on Off-Peak services
Like many others, I try and travel Off-Peak as my employer expects me to pay to get to and from work. Since having the current franchise term, SWT have been cutting Off-Peak services. Does Anne feel it is acceptable that overcrowding is now common-place during Off-Peak hours where the train company is knowingly not matching demand with supply. Hundreds of carriages are kept out of service to save money so Stagecoach can increase their profits and pay back money to the DfT for over-bidding on their franchise.
Lessons never learnt
Despite holding the franchise since 1996, the company are in a continual cycle of decline and denial. The online forums demonstrate just how little this company listens to its customers as the same complaints are listed time and time again, year after year. The company usually provide empty promises to improve, although more recently they have been trying a different tactic of claiming their franchise does not require them to do something, such as provide adequate security at busy stations such as Guildford where a life was needlessly lost last year. SWT knowingly allow drunks onto the stations and platforms at night; fighting and drug dealing are commonplace at Guildford station.
The worst of both worlds
I can think of no industry that better demonstrates what happens when there is no competition or regulation. Due to a complete lack of regulation and transparency, SWT are able to overcharge passengers while simultaneously operate a penalty fares scheme that penalises honest mistakes and allows the company to deliberately under-staff their ticket offices. If the company was committed to stopping fare 'evasion' they would target their efforts after 10pm on a Friday and Saturday. The complete opposite happens in this perverse set-up where it’s in fact completely free to travel after 10pm with no revenue protection measures in place. How many revenue staff work after 10pm? None. How many penalty fares are issued after 10pm? None. Almost all station barriers are open after 10pm every weekday, and earlier at weekends.
Company first, passenger last
If in doubt, the passenger is always wrong. Valid routes not recognised by revenue staff and existing fare rules overturned to maximise profits. Thoroughly dishonest behaviour that has been allowed to flourish under the current system with no regulation to protect the interests of passengers. The elderly and tourists are especially vulnerable to paying too much. No financial penalty for the companies who fail to sell the most appropriate ticket for the journey. And if passengers are forced to use the ticket machines then it’s very much buyer beware; it’s made incredibly easy to overpay and impossible to pay too little. Millions of pounds in compensation is paid to operators such as SWT, yet little finds its way to passengers who are inconvenienced and left out of pocket due to cancellations and delays. Replacement bus services only appear to operate now where disruption lasts more than a day. I have waited at Guildford station for 4 hours in total on 23rd and 24 December; over 1 hour at Woking station twice during November and December, and I was delayed for over 2 hours at Basingstoke in December and 2 and a half hours on 14th February. I have not received any reimbursement for the tickets I was unable to use and posted back to the operator after Christmas. This is despite the fact the operator has failed to provide anywhere close to their so-called 'Passenger Charter' standards.
Stagecoach have been slashing bus services in towns such as Basingstoke as the council have not met their demands for more subsidy. As with the railways, the company are quite happy to take money on overcrowded services for much of the day, but they expect lavish subsidies at quieter periods. The state takes the risk while the company takes the profits. Anti-competitive behaviour is also very much present, as it always has been at Stagecoach. The company is no longer accepting Explorer tickets issued by other operators despite a long-standing agreement between bus companies. Incorrect information on ticket acceptance is still being displayed on the Surrey County Council website which makes me wonder if they even know about Stagecoach's latest money scam. The latest round of cuts to bus services in Basingstoke that commenced last month are justified by the company as necessary due to increased traffic in the town. This is hardly surprising given that public transport run by the company is so unreliable (and non-existent after 8pm) that ever greater numbers of cars are on the roads.
I should add that today, 20th March I was delayed for an hour by Stagecoach's inability to run anything close to the advertised timetables for both their buses and trains. My journey to Basingstoke hospital was delayed by 30 minutes on the outward journey due to a late departure at Guildford resulting in a missed connection at Woking. The bus in the evening was 10 minutes late, resulting in me having to catch a train 30 minutes later. Of course, this is irrelevant as long as the train got into Waterloo within 5 minutes of time (it did, I checked) thereby maintaining the company's bogus punctuality percentages in the high 90's. There's no performance measure on the buses; the company don’t even need to manipulate the figures as there are none.
Health and Safety
Stagecoach show scant regard for the safety of their passengers. I have witnessed an elderly passenger being trapped in the door of a train at Staines. At Clapham Junction the doors are closed while passengers are boarding on a daily basis during peak times. West of country services such as one I boarded yesterday at Woking (13:46) appear to have fault air-conditioning units which are allowing diesel fumes to enter the carriages (coach number 58728). This is not a recent phenomenon as the inside of the carriage had a thin layer of what appeared to be exhaust particles present. Does anyone monitor the air quality of the diesel trains or is this left to the company to regulate themselves such as their over-charging ticket machines?
I would firstly like to ask if Anne feels customers are getting a good deal from the current fare arrangements? I am increasingly spending a larger and larger proportion on my income on train travel and in the New Year fares rose yet again. The response I have had on previous occasions from SWT and the DfT starts; 'no one likes paying more, but the reality is...'. This patronising nonsense implies that I have no concept of reality myself. In fact as I don’t have an expense account, the reality I face is that every train ticket I buy comes out of my bank account. To make matters worse, SWT's service is progressively getting worse, not better. Do you have an opinion on what is a fair amount to pay to get to and from work on an increasingly overcrowded and unclean service that I have little choice in using?
I will give you one brief example of Stagecoach cost-cutting. On 24th January at 18:00 I observed a family with two small children trying to find a working toilet. Out of four on board toilets, only one unit was in working order. The carpet around one of the toilets was saturated in what smelt like urine. This is a regular occurrence as is the overpowering smell of sewerage from full tanks that have not been emptied at Waterloo (most recently observed on 31/01/14 at 20:45). Every year, Managers are instructed to find savings on which their bonus depends on so it is unsurprising that toilet facilities at stations and trains are usually out of order or in a very poor state. The toilets at Richmond and Kingston station were out of use on the two occasions I used these stations during the month of November and once again in January and twice in February.
I have come to realise that those in the DfT and many politicians have little concept or even any concern of those on modest incomes and will always favour the exploitative, monopolistic businesses that are the privatised train companies. I resent the fact that I am subsidising the profits of a business that does not add any value to train travel and their minimal 'risk' is underwritten by the DfT and the tax payer. The railways are massively inefficient due to competing interests, all of which work against the commuter. Do you feel that train travel should be reserved for the rich? Does it concern you that people on low incomes simply cannot afford to use trains. How can this be morally justifiable?
The company have previously informed me that plenty of people do not find their services too expensive as there has been a year on year increase in passenger numbers. In response, I would like to ask, why, if their services are so popular have SWT been cutting the length of off-peak services since 2009? The first 'Super' Off-Peak service from Guildford is now pathetically a four coach train cut from ten coaches. From London, the first Super Off-Peak service has been cut from 12 to 8 coaches. The primary role of the guard on the 11:34 from Guildford now appears to be to remove people travelling with a standard class ticket from first class despite there being nowhere else for them to go.
On evening services such as the 21:30 from Waterloo, the train is often full and standing on a single formation service. On two occasions last week I saw people forced to stand for 30 minutes, including a group of elderly people. Some fellow passengers did give up their seat, but this shouldn’t even be an issue following years of above inflationary price rises. I, along with many other commuters I know, am fed up reading press releases from SWT about new investment in additional rolling stock. The whole thing is a farce. A recent 'good' news story was timed to coincide with the unsurprising news that SWT is the most unpopular train company based on social media comments. The actual proposed outcome of this latest 'investment' is that trains previously used on the Portsmouth to London route several years ago but were relinquished due to higher leasing costs are now being repainted once again to be used on the same routes they were taken off. Hardly 'good news' is it when passengers have been cooped up in cramped, inhumane conditions for several years on suburban rolling stock that has been used for journeys exceeding 70 miles. Presumably another round of fare rises on top of those already announced will be required to fulfil this one step forward, two steps back approach?
Far from taking this franchise forward, most aspects of the service appear to be falling ever further backwards. I have recently seen the ticket office at Guildford closed at 18:45 on a Sunday (advertised time of closure is 22:00). Basingstoke station is frequently closed at 20:35 when I travel from this station on a weekday. For a company that continues to operate a penalty fares scheme of dubious legal validity (and one that does not apply in the evenings and at weekends when most needed) there is a marked reluctance to properly staff stations in accordance with standards agreed within their contract. The recent relaunch of the 'Buy B4 you board' campaign using posters and on-screen graphics, which are currently unhelpfully replacing TfL service updates at Guildford, is not backed up by adequate staffing. On Friday, 29th November I saw a queue of 12 at Clapham Junction station with only one counter position open, which is not uncommon. No fewer than two penalty fares posters were present next to the closed windows, presumably to warn people thinking that waiting excessive times is not an adequate reason to 'buy on board'. At Guildford station on Saturday 23rd November at 10:30 23 people were queuing (excluding those travelling as a party). Despite the queue getting longer, only two windows were open for the entire time I was there. Similar queues have been observed at weekends during December, January and February.
The above examples are by no means unique or unusual, far from it. On my previous 12 journeys from Guildford to Woking between the hours of 19:00 and 21:00, the ticket office at Basingstoke has only been open on 5 occasions (most recently closed at 21:15 on 6th March). Esher ticket office has been closed 4 out of the 5 times I have used the station between the hours of 14:00 and 16:30. Petersfield station appears to close for prolonged periods during the hours of 11:30 and 14:00. I rarely find this station staffed despite the advertised closing time being 20:00. The same applies to Farnham which has been closed at 17:30 and 16:00 during my past two visits. In the past 12 months Weybridge, West Byfleet and Haslemere stations have all been closed more often than open at times when I have travelled to these locations (less than 50% compliance). In the case of Haslemere I have only seen this station open on two of the six previous occasions during advertised opening hours.
Who is monitoring SWT's compliance of staffing ticket offices? Why are stations closed when they should be open? Importantly, if a ticket office is closed when it is supposed to be open and the passenger cannot buy the ticket they require from the ticket machine, are they expected to walk the length of the train to find the guard to obtain the most appropriate ticket for their journey (i.e. to include any applicable railcard discounts etc)? Passengers need clarification of what they are permitted to do in the likely event of ticket office closures.
On two occasions recently during the evening peak in February I have observed only one window open in the whole of Clapham Junction station (on both occasions the 'new' entrance was left completely unstaffed). This is supposed to be Britain's busiest railway station yet SWT do not feel it is necessary to provide more than one member of staff to sell train tickets. Disturbingly, in one instance, an elderly gentleman was told by barrier staff at the main ticket barriers to either rejoin the queue or use the ticket machines when he asked if he could buy a ticket on the train. I had seen this man, who was using a walking stick, queuing for several minutes in what was a wasted attempt to buy a ticket. Given the fact that the UK has by far the most complex fare structure in Europe, it is not acceptable to assume everyone can use the ticket machines.
On Monday 17th February I witnessed a young woman being harassed by a group of drunken youths on a train from Woking to Guildford. At Guildford they barged through the side-gate and were allowed to leave the station while clearly not in possession of a ticket. Yet tourists, the elderly and those with busy working lives are subjected to SWT's bullying and harassment. Passengers unfamiliar with the complex fare structure are especially vulnerable to this company who are intent on charging the maximum amount they can get away with. Where is the protection for passengers who may well be overcharged due to lack of competition and non-existent regulation? Disturbingly I witnessed a similar incident 15 days prior to this incident at around the same time and during the following morning (Monday 3rd February) the dealing of drugs was openly taking place on the footbridge at Guildford station.
I have previously read about the work the Strategic Rail Authority commissioned on accessibility, queuing times and real-time punctuality (i.e. not fixed by the TOC). This work is easy to find online and shows how the priorities of the train company are now even further ahead of those of the passenger. Does Anne think that now this work is clearly no longer being undertaken (as there is no SRA), the passengers best interests are being protected?
Almost every day I witness people buying expensive off-peak tickets for journeys that will be within the Super-Off Peak period. How do I know this? I ask people and they tell me what time they will be returning. There is no poster at stations such as Guildford to warn people of the multiple layers of fares that exist and how they can obtain the correct fare.
SWT have not sent me this year's six free weekend rail tickets. I believe this is due to my comments in a local newspaper regarding the lack of security at Guildford station. When I called the Gold Service telephone line I was kept on hold for twelve minutes before being informed that my tickets were 'in the post'. This was over two months ago and almost five months from the time of renewing my season ticket. How can I pursue SWT to get my weekend tickets in addition to compensation from the hours of delays I experienced in December? Their customer service department appears to ignore my letters.
Mismanagement of car parks
The payment machines at Basingstoke station (Bunnian Place) are completely unacceptable. On the rare occasion when they are working, they take an excessive time to issue a ticket and then the payment often fails usually due to a 'time-out'. This has been a problem for several years and on 2nd February, when I attempted to use these facilities, every machine was out of order and the only way of making a payment without leaving the car park was to use a telephone service which charges a 'convenience' fee. However, even this was not working. The line was barely audible with frequent drop-outs and on accepting my payment I was then informed that the type of card I was using was not valid as it was not VISA despite it in fact the card being issued by VISA. After reattempting I gave up as did another driver before me had exactly the same problem. I have experienced identical problems with the train ticket machines at Guildford not issuing a ticket because of an unexplained problem (most recently at 13:30 on 19th March). I frequently start my journey without a ticket due to the machines not accepting payment; presumably SWT think I should make multiple attempts to buy a ticket before boarding one of 'their' trains. Well, I will not. Once I have authorised payment through providing my details it is up to the company to issue the ticket to the best of my knowledge I have paid for. Do retailers such as Tesco have payment system failures on a daily basis? Of course not.
First Great Western
First are another company who take every opportunity to exploit their passengers. I have had problems using a Guildford to Windsor and Eton Riverside ticket travelling through Reading for over two and a half years now. The National Rail Routeing Guide (of which I have a copy) and indeed the journey planner on the National Rail Enquiries website confirm that the 'Any Permitted' route can include changing trains at Reading and Slough. After being chased onto the platforms at Maidenhead some time ago by aggressive revenue staff, I wrote to the company and received no response. After another dispute with staff I wrote to the company and received a reply indicating that my ticket was indeed valid. Following yet further problems, I received an e’mail and I was informed that I should show a printout of this communication to staff if I am challenged. I was also assured that all revenue staff would be briefed on valid routes including for the ticket I wished to use.
On Wednesday 11th September I was stopped at Slough and informed that my ticket was invalid and I would need to buy another ticket. Not an 'excess' but a single ticket back to Guildford. After showing my letter I was referred to the member of staff at the ticket office who worryingly confirmed that the ticket was invalid. This is the same member of staff who should be selling the most appropriate tickets to passengers as a requirement of the company's franchise agreement. I requested to speak to the Duty Manager who kept me waiting for over 10 minutes, and then just told me my ticket was invalid and everything I had said including what was within the letter was incorrect.
I have since been stopped by revenue staff on board a train and incorrectly informed my ticket was not valid on 23rd October. My ticket was taken off me and I was requested to wait at Windsor Central station while checks were made. However, as is the case with SWT, the ticket office at the station was closed despite being in the middle of the day, and within the advertised opening hours. I was graciously permitted to leave despite already been delayed by 20 minutes due to the inability of this operator to run anything close to the advertised schedule. Of course, like SWT, the punctuality statistics tell a different story and one that bears little resemblance to the actual performance. I should add that for every time I am denied entry into a FGW station due to staff not being informed of the routeing guide (which is accessible to anyone with an internet connection) I am wasting time and in some cases money which is becoming quite considerable. I experienced further problems on this route during December and yet again in January and February at Maidenhead station.
I have included a copy of the screen-shots of the route in question from the journey planner and a copy of the e’mail I received from FGW. I assume that in time, the company will try to seek permission from the DfT to have restrictions placed on this route to maximise their revenue and reduce choice for the passenger. This has happened on other routes, most recently with First Capital Connect who now claim that a long-established route is in fact an 'obscure error'. Strange, as they bid for a franchise based on knowing the rules on the routeing guide but now want those rules to be changed in retrospect. It is a complete shambles that would not be tolerated in any other European country.
I have experienced similar problems using a ticket from Guildford to Staines where I have requested to leave (and subsequently re-enter) Putney and Twickenham stations. The routeing guides permits travel through Weybridge with a change at Clapham Junction. I have never received a reply from SWT as to why they are not accepting a perfectly valid ticket where I am attempting to use a permitted route.
Anne may be aware that Stagecoach have withdrawn from sale and stopped accepting 'explorer' tickets including those issued by other bus companies. As of 20th March, the Surrey County Council website is still showing incorrect information regarding the acceptance of explorer tickets on Stagecoach buses. Perhaps this is unsurprising seeing as for over a year Stagecoach were taking money from the council to run a school bus that was actually withdrawn and replaced with a commercial service in Bordon to Haslemere (resulting in significant delays to users on this once popular but now largely unused route)
How can it be justified that a bus company can be contracted to run services in areas where the only other form of public transport are trains operated by the same parent company? Furthermore Stagecoach are clearly abusing their position by increasing the charge for making multiple journeys on different buses by over 100% in areas where Abellio and Arriva operate. Does Anne think it is acceptable that customers making more than one journey using both Stagecoach and Arriva will need to pay £14.80 rather than £6.80? I thought we were supposed to be living through the 'greenest government ever'?
Stagecoach are further exploiting their monopoly by removing PlusBus tickets from all but one destination on the ticket machines across their network as far as I can tell. Despite the terms of PlusBus stating that any national rail station will sell a ticket with a PlusBus add-on as long as the destination or station of origin are covered by an applicable train ticket. No so, with South West Trains, however. I was recently refused a PlusBus ticket at Farnham station where the train journey would commence in Aldershot and end in Guildford. However, as it was possible I could use the bus rather than the train (both of which are operated by Stagecoach) from Farnham to Aldershot which I was permitted to do under the PlusBus terms, the member of staff said that colleagues had been informed not to allow this type of transaction to take place. Moreover, guards have been instructed not to accept railcard discounts for PlusBus tickets even where the whole journey has been covered by a valid rail ticket. Such request is extremely likely to take place (as is intended by SWT) as they have been busy removing PlusBus tickets as an option from their ticket machines.
It’s one scam after another and no one in the Government, Department for Transport or Passenger Focus are doing anything about it. While the amounts of money in many cases are relatively small, Stagecoach generate profits of several million and have a moral and legal obligation to sell the correct fares. The balance of favour has swung far too far in the favour of this parasitic company who rely on apathy and indifference of those who are supposed to be regulating them. In the absence of competition there has to be regulation. However, train and bus passengers have neither.”
PR disaster as SWT’s ‘Winter Smiles’ offer causes misery
Stagecoach’s comparative inability or unwillingness to run SWT professionally can be astounding.
Southern’s advance off-peak Daysave tickets (£15.00 each, or £30 for 3-4 people travelling together) offer unlimited travel on Saturdays and Sundays over an operating area bounded by Southampton, Milton Keynes and Ashford (Kent). In addition, their weekend trains are generally of reasonable length. Passengers can therefore travel at any time of year which suits them, and in comfortable conditions except when there are very major events or engineering work affecting some routes.
There are no such bargains on SWT, but Stagecoach offered ‘winter smiles’ with £10 day returns, between any two of most of the stations it serves, ‘on any Saturday or Sunday’ (any between 18 January and 23 February, that is). This restricted offer, during the height of winter, proved very popular. That is unsurprising given that many of their off-peak fares, as above, offer risible savings.
Some people who took advantage of the offer encountered severe disruption (for example 6-hour return journeys from Waterloo to Southampton) during bad weather. They were denied refunds.
On the final Saturday, it was half-term, the weather had improved, there was rugby at Twickenham, and SWT had shovelled up far too many £10 fares. Twitter revealed that some regular travellers were prevented from boarding at places such as Andover and Winchester and unable to get to work. Day-trippers complained, for example, of standing between Axminster and Waterloo; of children and elderly people unable to access overflowing toilets; and of some platforms being dangerously packed.
In the evening, virtually all long-distance trains left Waterloo with many unhappy standing passengers, including children. In addition, the 19.20 to Exeter was over 40 minutes late because a passenger was taken ill. In the face of such chaos, the Shawford stop was cut from the 20.39 Waterloo-Southampton, and the Clapham Junction stop from the 21.05 Waterloo-Poole. One passenger alleged serious abuse from a member of staff at Vauxhall.
The misery climaxed at around 22.00, when the westbound lines through Wimbledon were closed by a defective train and by a person being hit by another train. Passengers were delayed on trains up to two hours, some were stranded overnight, and some started smoking on trains. More work for SWT’s understaffed Customer Services.
Interesting letter from a Dr Philip Dixon, in the Evening Standard of 25 February:
“Trying to come back into Central London after a wedding in Kingston last Saturday we arrived at the station at 11pm to find trains severely delayed because of a person having earlier been hit by a train. We waited over an hour for a train, then were told to board a train to Strawberry Hill. We were ordered off there and crossed the platform to board a train which took us back to Kingston, then on to Wimbledon, where it terminated. During the whole time staff appeared to know nothing and cared even less. Elderly people, lone youngsters, and the disabled were left to find their own way back home. Whatever the sad circumstances, it was shocking service from South West Trains.”
SWT persistently told tweeters that the offer could not be extended, and that longer trains couldn’t run at weekends. After the bad publicity, they gave the lie to their protestations, as the offer was extended for three weekends. In addition, a number of trains were doubled in length, though with some still reported as ‘full and standing’ on Journeycheck. On 8th March, it was purported on Twitter that this could be done with stock released from the Portsmouth line, where a reduced service was run as if the scheduled engineering work had not been cancelled. Interestingly, though, some of the longer trains were formed of diesel trains which do not run on the Portsmouth line.
Adverse weather – SWT ignores Prime Minister’s promise
Part of an open letter from SWT Managing Director, Tim Shoveller, in February 2014:
“Firstly, despite some of the worst conditions the rail network has faced, more than 90% of our network remains open for business. We are continuing to run many hundreds of trains every day to get people to work and make sure they can go about their daily lives. Services on these routes are running well and that is testament to the hard work of our engineers, operations teams and customer service employees.
Many of our people are working through the night to carry out preventative checks on the 4,600 signals, nearly 1,400 sets of points and over 2,000 kilometres of track on our network. We are continuing to monitor weather conditions round the clock and liaise very closely with the Government, the Met Office, Environment Agency, local authorities and other key services.”
Passengers do indeed have cause to be grateful to the frontline staff who worked in adverse weather conditions to restore the infrastructure. However, SWT’s “running well” on unaffected routes presumably means tearing up the timetables and cutting scheduled stops as never before.
Hedge End and Botley residents were worst affected, with their stations closed for weeks through a major landslip. A Hedge End commuter has raised some interesting points. First, Stagecoach presumably makes thousands from Network Rail (taxpayers), like other bus operators, by providing replacement bus services. So the landslip would have been very profitable for them.
Secondly, he has written to his MP, Mike Thornton, about refunds. Minister Stephen Hammond commendably visited the Botley repair works and stated on the Daily Echo’s video that the Prime Minister had made clear that the Government would be looking at policies to provide refunds for the passengers affected. However, in their Webchat event, SWT made clear that they wouldn’t be paying compensation.
Finally, it will be interesting to see whether the Network Rail/SWT Alliance ensure that their Directors’ next huge bonuses and dividends are shared among the front-line staff who worked so tirelessly, by way of a testament to Mr Shoveller’s appreciation of their efforts? Or will the Stagecoach greed ethic prevail?
Background to massive weekend shutdowns at Southampton
Council and business leaders, local events organisers and the media have criticised SWT for giving inadequate notice of weekend closures of all lines through Southampton Central from mid-March until early May, plus Good Friday and Easter Monday. There was no consultation, despite the adverse effects for major football and charity events [Daily Echo 5/3/2014].
The indecent haste may be due to Network Rail facing a £70m fine for delays, and being rebuked by ORR for a £1.2bn underspend on maintenance.
In addition, eleventh-hour warnings appear very much the Stagecoach norm for approaching disruption, for example when improving their poor performance scores by ad hoc slashing of booked station stops. Given the SWT/Network Rail Alliance’s normally lengthy excuses for disruption, it is interesting that they did not explain the need to close access to Southampton Central from both directions at the same time, given that nearly all the work is to the west of Central station, and the heaviest traffic to the east. Twitter reveals a high level of incompetence in the provision of replacement bus services.
SWT staff rebel over poor service to the public
Mr Shoveller’s message rightly recognises the additional strain on SWT’s Customer Services. The amount of correspondence reportedly soared from an average of 2,500 letters a month to 10,000. By 21/2/2014, they were answering correspondence from 11/12/2013, a delay of 72 days against their Charter standard of 20 working days.
Sample e’mail response from Customer Services, kindly copied to us by an Isle of Wight resident:
DATE 13 March 2014
Thank you for your email of 27 December 2013. I’m sorry that this email answer is too late to answer your query. South West Trains Customer Relations is generally here to answer any complaints or concerns our customers may have.
For general queries where a quick answer is needed we recommend customers call 08457 48 49 50 and speak to National Rail Enquires, check their website at www.nationalrail.co.uk, call our Customer Service team on 0845 6000 650 or consult our website at www.southwesttrains.co.uk.
I do hope this information proves useful. Thank you for contacting South West Trains. Thank you once again for your email of 27 December.
Customer Service Centre Advisor
In the prevailing employment situation, there should certainly be no problem in recruiting enough additional clerical staff to deal with complaints and prepare refunds. Yet, as always, Stagecoach appears more interested in protecting dividends than in providing an acceptable service to the public.
Twitter records many complaints about delays in dealing with correspondence, yet the tweeters were usually just referred back to the already overworked customer services section. It is clear that passengers well understood the train operating problems caused by abnormal weather. However, they were dissatisfied with SWT’s responses, such as leaving people stranded at Waterloo late at night, cutting stops on surviving services at the drop of a hat, and inability to arrange efficient replacement bus services.
Demoralised and frustrated Customer Services staff finally felt impelled to contact BBC South Today, complaining that management was unsupportive, and more interested in explaining the causes of the disruption to travel than about dealing with the backlog of correspondence. Consequently, they felt they were letting down their customers.
Problems at SWT’s Customer Services are familiar ground. The Evening Standard of 24/4/1997 reported: “A total of 28,000 complaints were lodged by passengers last year against the privatised South West Trains. That is more than 500 complaints a week and does not include the massive travel chaos in February and March this year after the company got rid of too many drivers to save cash and did not have enough left to run all the trains.”
Early in 2000, SWT’s complaints staff were reportedly issuing much-delayed responses which referred to “literally hundreds of train cancellations caused by us having an unofficial industrial dispute with a large number of our train drivers.”
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) recently published a report which stated that as many as 75% of those using Britain's railways do not know enough about claiming money back. PassengerFocus’ acting chief executive David Sidebottom recently stated that customer service was "a problem that needs addressing". He added: "The top issues raised by passengers contacting Passenger Focus regularly include train delays, refund conditions and levels of compensation.”
Help for pregnant women on SWT depends on right kind of ticket
Disabled people well know that Stagecoach is completely inflexible about the criteria for deciding whether to carry their wheelchairs. The Evening Standard of 17 February has now revealed that comparable inflexibility applies to concessions for pregnant women:
“A pregnant commuter has hit out at train bosses for their seating policy after she was forced to sit on a carriage floor when she nearly collapsed. Victoria Poskitt, who is just over five months’ pregnant with her first child, has asked for a special pass to sit in first class but does not qualify. She sought the pass following a recent ordeal when she began to feel unwell on a packed South West Trains service from Surbiton to Waterloo. When she informed fellow passengers, in the hope of being offered a seat, she was ignored and had to sink onto the floor for the rest of the journey.
Mrs Poskitt, 40, who commutes from Surbiton for her job in marketing, said SWT were unsympathetic when she asked for the pass, which allows pregnant women to sit in first class if there are no seats. The company’s policy is two-fold: that the woman has to be no more than 20 weeks from her due date and that she travels with a weekly, monthly or annual season ticket.
Mrs Poskitt travels from Surbiton to London three days a week, working the other two days from her home in Yorkshire. She said: “You have to have a pass [to sit in first class], and because I travel three days a week, not five, I don’t have a pass, I pay by Oyster... I thought they might be willing to make an exception, particularly after I told them about what happened, but after conversations with various managers they’ve flatly said ‘no’, saying policy is policy.
“I don’t honestly know [what to do next], I keep trying with South West Trains, I’m throwing myself at their mercy because they could make all the difference to the last few months of my pregnancy. “They said to me that if I’m feeling unwell I should find a guard; if they’ve been on one of their trains they should know that’s impossible. Then they said if you’re feeling unwell you should pull the emergency cord. Really?” She also said that even if the other passengers had not realised she was pregnant “simple human decency should have prevailed”.
Ticket vending problems on SWT (January-March)
Some sixty SWT ticket offices closed during opening hours
Unstaffed stations present a range of security risks. In many cases, stations have only ‘facility managers’ whose principal task is to sell tickets. Yet, during the past three months, SWT’s website has advertised failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated) to staff ticket offices even during advertised opening hours at Addlestone, Aldershot, Andover, Ascot, Ash, Ash Vale, Axminster, Bagshot, Basingstoke, Berrylands, Brockenhurst, Byfleet & New Haw, Camberley, Cobham & Stoke d’Abernon, Cosham, Crewkerne, Dorchester, Esher, Fareham, Farnborough, Farnham, Feniton, Fleet, Fratton, Godalming, Hampton Wick, Hamworthy, Haslemere, Hedge End, Hersham, Hinchley Wood, Liphook, Liss, Lymington Town, Malden Manor, Mortlake, New Milton, Oxshott, Petersfield, Raynes Park, Richmond, Salisbury, Shepperton, Strawberry Hill, Sunningdale, Swanwick, Thames Ditton, Tisbury, Vauxhall, Virginia Water, Walton-on-Thames, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Whitton, Winchester, Winchfield, Winnersh Triangle, Wool, Worcester Park, Worplesdon and Wraysbury. It is clear from Twitter, and from reports that we receive, that the real position is even worse.
Ticket machine failures reported at over forty SWT stations
Ticket vending machines are as unreliable as ticket office opening hours on SWT. They have recently been out of action at Addlestone, Ascot, Ashurst, Axminster, Barnes Bridge, Camberley, Chertsey, Datchet, Ewell West, Farnham, Feniton, Frimley, Grateley, Hamble, Hampton, Hersham, Hilsea, Hinchley Wood, Hounslow, Kempton Park, Malden Manor, Millbrook (permit to travel machine), Moreton, Motspur Park, North Sheen, Raynes Park, St Denys, Sholing, Strawberry Hill, Sunnymeads, Teddington, Thames Ditton, Tolworth, Totton, Upper Halliford, Virginia Water, Whimple, Winnersh, Witley, Worcester Park, Worplesdon, Wraysbury and Yeovil Junction.
SWT Webchat event 18.3.2014
SWT’s Webchat events have become much less significant since the advent of Twitter, but the latest still managed to attract almost 200 questions. Callers, mostly dissatisfied, wanted information about issues such as why additional carriages to relieve the serious overcrowding on SWT are so late; why the review of cycling policy is never ending; why it takes months to get replies from Customer Services; why the timetable is so slow and connections so unreliable; why compensation is so poor; why facilities are so often broken, filthy or non-existent; why provision of information is so erratic; why staffing is unsatisfactory; and why some staff so indifferent or abusive.
Q.140 neatly summarized callers’ frustration with the many evasive replies given: “Reading the transcript of your current Webchat, it's clear that in many cases you don't address the questions that are asked. You either ignore the key question or just post a standard cut ‘n’ paste reply. If you want to try and re-engage your passenger base why not try and actually address the issues? Do you even bother reading the questions?’
Q.122 provided a more general summary of many passengers’ feelings: “When does your contract run out? Please don't let it be renewed as you can't provide a decent train service with your alliance! DITCH SW TRAINS!!!” The reply simply blamed the recent bad weather for poor service.
Another pivotal question was Q.181: “I've been forced to travel on SWT for the last 5 years and can safely say the overall performance and service continues to deteriorate rapidly. If it's not overcrowding and delays, then it's broken and overflowing toilets or filthy carriages. You appear to have lost any concept of customer service as we now have to wait month for a response. Surely it's time to admit the current management team has failed drastically and give someone else a chance?”
This was brushed aside with standard lines about pressure at Customer Services and prospective additional rolling stock improving reliability and comfort. It’s unclear how, for example, 4-coach trains will be more reliable when extended to 5 coaches, or how they will be more comfortable when they have an overall reduction of seating.
The problem of evasive answers was neatly illustrated by Q.52, Q.150 and Q.186 which failed to elicit information about how much SWT received from Network Rail for delays caused by infrastructure damage, and whether it was morally right not to pass the money on to passengers.
Q.104 was one SWT clearly hadn’t bothered to read properly:
Q: “Hi, will there be engineering works May Bank Holiday weekend, specifically 23rd and 25th? Travelling Waterloo to Dorchester South.”
A. “No major work is planned in the South West Trains area on Saturday 3 May, or during the main part of the day on Holiday Monday 5 May. The lines between Southampton Central and Brockenhurst, including all lines through Southampton Station will be closed all day Sunday for renewal work.”
Follow-up Q. 162 refers to a previous answer which was totally lacking in empathy: “WRONG - it is rude and pointless to blow the whistle at people who have not even had an opportunity to board yet. We have been waiting up to fifteen minutes already, and are all keen to get on: after all, only the first ones on will get a seat so we are not going to hang about. And there is no point whatsoever in telling us to use all the doors - at Kingston the carriage nearest the exit is the only one with any space (as people going TO Kingston all use that carriage). Evidently no-one at SWT knows or cares what conditions are like at Kingston. I have not seen any staff, let alone management on platform 3 for years. So stop the aural assault. We will get on as soon as everyone who wants to has got off, and the guard is just wasting his breath blowing that thing in my ear.” This attracted the brush-off reply: “Your comments are noted.”
The inconvenience and delays caused to passengers by ticket barriers was always justified in terms of providing them with greater security. The reply to Q.131 shows what a massive lie that was:
Q. “The use of the ticket gates at Havant and Fareham seems less and less. Why is this? Last week at Havant, at 08:15, the chap wearing a customer services top was emptying the waste paper bins. Surely this is a job for a quieter time of day and he would have been better employed on the ticket gates. On both sides of the station the gates were out of use at the time. South East Hants is fast becoming a free travel zone.”
A. “All of our gate lines have structured rosters which are in place to mitigate against revenue risk. These rosters are not only based around times of peak footfall but also around when our ticketless travel data tells us our revenue is most at risk. We also deploy Revenue Protection staff on board our trains so that we can cover all locations and not just those with gates.”
The only glimmer of hope for passengers was the assertion that a two-year extension of the Stagecoach contract on SWT, from 2017 to 2019, has not yet been signed off.
Passengers’ voices of despair (Twitter)
SWT’s Twitter facility provides information, apologises endlessly, and refers people to Customer Services who, if they are lucky, will send an often unhelpful reply weeks later. Passengers hate the rip-offs, problems with trains and stations, information deficit, cancelled stops, not getting replies from Customer Services, and the rudeness and aggression of some members of staff. It must all be pretty depressing for decent members of staff as well.
We now know that trains can readily be delayed to enforce a fare, but delay is out of the question for dealing with an obstructively placed bike on an overcrowded service, or for holding a connection for a few seconds. Disabled people may be refused assistance or even told to seek help from other passengers. SWT drivers are not trained fully trained on operations at Dorking so, if an irregular manoeuvre would be required, for example because of signalling problems, trains from Waterloo turn round at Leatherhead and passengers are left to travel by Southern.
If, in the words of Stagecoach lobbyist Barry Doe, “SWT is one of the best operators in the country” [RAIL, Issue 737], why would anyone travel by rail if they didn’t have to?
What is particularly noticeable on Twitter is the virtual absence of any promise to improve the treatment of passengers. Some excerpts, with small corrections and amendments for clarity:
Your service is actually appalling and your staff are rude. /// You should be ashamed of yourselves. It's January and you're leaving people stranded?! /// Good to be back in the swing at work. Shame SWT still can't run trains on time though. /// I'm sorry but your train service is becoming an utter joke, zero staff or announcements as to why trains are late tonight. They changed its platform and didn't inform anyone, no staff on platform to ask either. /// Unbelievable. SWT cancelling trains left right and centre due to 'shortage of staff' whilst demonstrating disgusting customer service. As a customer how am I benefiting from spending more money because it’s certainly not polite staff or prompt trains? You are ripping off people that have no other option than to take the train to work. Where are the improvements over last 3 years? /// Can you lower the cost of travel for a poor service or keep the fares but improve the service? /// 'Normal' service being just bad instead of terrible? /// The sooner I get a car and don't have to put up with the unrelenting awfulness of SWT the better. /// Bored out of my skull waiting for another late train. Will you ever run a service worthy of the fortune we pay to use it? /// Rude staff, broken ticket machines, cancelled trains and over-crowding. So that's what increased ticket fares pay for these days. /// I fainted today on the train, pulled the emergency cord, no one came. Obviously you are concerned for passenger safety...not!!!! /// Provide the service you tell us you are charging us for. That's simple, right? /// SWT, you ever thought about jacking it in? It's clear that you can't do your job properly, just give up. /// How about you post actually useful information like how to claim a refund for your awful excuse for a network? /// Appalling service, as always, yet fares keep going up! Definitive corporate greed. It's been two and a bit days and I already have almost no will to live. /// There will be blood on SWT’s hands soon. /// It's pretty great that my SWT £3,000 season ticket buys me delays, signal failures and a generally crap service…. It's because they don't actually care about the customer but only the shareholders. [Response: I can assure you that we do care. We are working to fix the issue as safely as possible. Sorry you have been affected.] Ah you see! They DO care!! And I'm sure I'll be getting a refund for their shambles making me late for work.... [Second caller: Ah yes, the famous 'we do care' line... how long does a train need to be delayed to get a refund?] [Response: Please contact customer relations who can help you with refunds.] Here you go... customer relations to delay with refunds and money back following delays and cancellations. /// Once again making the journey as miserable as ever for all passengers. /// It still does not answer my question as to why your prices are so extortionate for such appalling service? /// Always cutting stops and giving paying customers seconds to change trains. I'm actually starting to pine for First Great Western. /// SWT is without doubt the worst train service in the country! /// I hope your incompetence hits the press.
Still haven't had a response to my complaint. Really poor show of service twice now! Also just plain rude. /// You took my money, 2-hour delay and still nothing? Pathetic company. /// Made a refund request in July last year. Had a holding letter from you and nothing more. Can you look into it please? /// I would just like to advise you that I received appalling customer service today at Waterloo. Official complaint will be made. /// Oh, just stop. It wasn't delayed. It just wasn't passed on. I know you think your Customer Service is great, but it just isn't. /// [9.1.2014] I wrote to your customer relations people a month ago requesting a refund. When can I expect to hear back? [Response: They are behind at the moment I'm afraid, currently processing enquiries from late November.] /// Just witnessed some terrible customer service at platform 1 Southampton Central, thought that attitude was long gone. Young Asian woman asked advice about trains to Eastleigh. The staff member was dismissive, rude, arrogant speaking to her. Others noticed /// Great customer service at Eastleigh, ticket guy on his mobile having a personal conversation whilst serving customers. [Next day: Went to get a new photo card and monthly ticket just now, same man on ticket desk and what a surprise he was on his phone again!!!!] /// I think this is the first time someone from your company has acknowledged me in almost a year! /// Waiting 2 months for a slap-dash reply. Diabolical. Your Customer Services Department remains the worst of any company in the UK. Fact. The ignorance of your management towards customers is astounding. Seriously. This is just one example I'm afraid. /// Reply from SWT to complaint made in November. Cut and paste e’mail and the person had forgotten to remove the XX for stations and times. Hopeless. /// I'm sure that'll do wonders, much like the e’mail I sent November 19 that still hasn't been answered. /// What is your address for delay repay claims? Your website is running so slow as to be unusable! /// I just want to notify somebody from SWT that I am looking for this bag (so that it doesn't get destroyed or lost). I got yelled by one of your staff members just for asking what I need I to do... /// I want to make multiple claims for tickets due to bad service and additional costs. Can I make them individually or as a whole? /// Just tried to give some lost property to driver of SWT train from Waterloo - he refused to take it or even advise what to do - service? /// Still haven't had a response to my complaint. Really poor show of service twice now! Also just plain rude. I'm guessing you guys just frankly don't give a toss about your customers? Still no reply? I have e’mailed twice about a complaint and no one has replied back to me in over 5 weeks! Sort it out guys!! /// No reply from meet the manager event at Waterloo and no replies to tweets on 30/12 and 07/01. Where's my money going? /// Can't buy a ticket for tomorrow from self-service machines until three o'clock today. What a pointless restriction. [Unhelpful response: Restrictions are in place to avoid fare evasion and confusion of ticket validity during the week/weekend. /// Why do you need my name, address, number, e’mail, birthday and photo.. yet when I lose my monthly £281 ticket you won't replace it? /// I have sent three e’mails already . . . None of which have been given an acknowledgement e’mail. Disappointed my request for help was ignored when trying to get home last night. Poor service all round. /// Can you tell me your complaints procedure please? About the unacceptable service myself and 4 others had on Saturday. /// Customer service last night at Basingstoke was shameful. One community support officer trying to help hundreds. No manager! /// Your compensation page seems to be down. /// Two of my friends tried to buy tickets on the train and were kicked off, but guard sold them to the girls in the same group. Don't expect much, I finally got a reply and they spewed a lot of corporate drivel deflecting any blame.. /// Still waiting for reply from customer services about overcrowding (2 months now).
Helped someone struggling in the queue at barrier in wheelchair. Your staff did not notice, poor day on SWT. /// Why does it take over 2 weeks to reply to an e’mail that contains simple queries? No response! Should I expect a response before I travel? Travelling with special needs so not good taking this long?
Guard on platform 4 at Clapham has sent passengers, incorrectly, to platform 11 instead of platform 10. Terrible service... /// 1652 from Clapham Junction is full and standing before it arrives. Is it normally just 4 carriages? /// They didn't explain in simple terms that the platform has no trains stopping from 17.03 to 18.22. Result was confused passengers. /// Morning update e’mail has come out wrong again, says there is no disruption between Frimley and Waterloo. /// Been stuck at Yeovil en route to Basingstoke for over an hour, no information from onboard staff, will this train be moving please? /// Why is my train stopped at Southampton Central for 40 minutes with no reason why yet? Any information please?? /// There's good communication for you: SWT guard announces that he's "still in the dark" why we all had to suddenly change trains. /// I'd like to know if I can get from Waterloo to Bournemouth any time soon. Trains keep getting cancelled and no information is given. /// Vauxhall/Clapham - Richmond engineering works: platforms closed, no information displayed, no staff to give advice! /// Why no inter-company availability? Absolutely disgraceful response! Passengers stranded in Somerset! [Response: We do have First Great Western acceptance all the way to Paddington.] So your onboard staff knew about ticket acceptance and did not advise passengers before departure from Exeter St David’s. [Response: I'm surprised to hear that they didn't, it has been available on-line for some time. Apologies.] Well, your customer relations people will sure as hell learn about it Monday! Your staff were negligent in my view. 11.25 Exeter to Waterloo train was 4 hours late, with 3hrs waiting on platform at Yeovil - why no apology and no information from staff? Why were staff so unwilling to help? Was told to 'mind my own business' when I asked for hot drinks for elderly passengers. /// Thanks for a cold and ill-informed wait at Havant. What the hell is happening?! /// Both information points at Liphook faulty. No information on-line or at station saying all trains cancelled. Organised taxi ourselves!! /// Have your staff gone mute? On the delayed 1841 from Waterloo. No announcements, no apologies. The guard is now walking through the train 'checking tickets' so I am doubtful he will be making an announcement... /// If your crew are going to make excuses for delays at least make sure they are consistent with previous announcements! /// I've had 5 different e’mails tonight. Three saying there are delays between Waterloo and Norbiton and two saying they are cleared. What's up? /// No announcements are being made at Southampton Central regarding train delays. /// Can guards announce when a train won't arrive at its usual platform. I have tight connections so pick my carriage accordingly!! /// If you're going to say '12 coach train' on your boards, then don't surprise us all with a train 4 coaches shorter! /// Why does platform information at Waterloo disappear before train has left and even when few minutes delayed? [Unconvincing response (boards can presumably show a departure from every platform at any one time): As we only have a limited number of screens, there is a finite amount of time one train can be displayed. /// Where can I find the contact details for your board of directors? [Response: Not something that we would post out. Please send your comments to Customer Relations (Editorial comment: And wait two months?)] /// Is the 9:57 from Worcester Park to Waterloo running? Board says it is, network rail app says it's delayed with no time information. … Network Rail app is now saying 9:57 is cancelled too? Will any trains be going to Waterloo? Desperately confused by all this information. [Response: Currently delayed by 16 minutes but still running at present.] Why is the board information so wrong? Says on time. Will the 10:12 be on time? Need these trains badly for work meeting. [Response: 0957 running fast to Waterloo. Next train to Waterloo due at 1019.] /// 90% of the time we get no apology. In any case, what was the reason for the delay? Still none the wiser... /// Been sitting on a stationary train at Petersfield for more than an hour. No information, nothing. Hopeless. /// Display at Clapham Junction for the 0717 to Exeter is showing 3 coaches and no divide at Salisbury, but everything is actually normal. /// E’mail alerts useless - not giving full information - Why short train, and others packed so can’t get on at Vauxhall? /// Noticed that SWT don't tweet about every problem they have... Is that so that it looks like there's a better service than there is?! /// Can you help the people stranded at Basingstoke? They've been lied to about there being staff, trains and buses. /// Was forced to get a £100 taxi from Basingstoke to Bournemouth after being stuck with no updates for ages! How can you justify that? /// Not providing any information at Basingstoke. Worst customer service I've ever experienced, continuously through January! /// Awful, awful, awful service as always. Sat on the line for about 40 minutes with no explanation. Can't believe I give you so much money. /// Disgraceful professionalism shown by your staff at Twickenham station this morning. Zero communication/information provided. [Second caller: Agree. Awful information. Insight for you - we know there are delays that much is obvious. People need to know the reason.] /// Appalled at the lack of service from SWT the last 2 days. Delays, cancellations and rude announcements. It's not our fault your service is poor, people need to get places! What am I paying for? /// An 8-coach train was suddenly turned into a 4 with no warning and subsequent very squashed, pissed off people. /// Cheers SWT for yet another delayed journey home with absolutely no explanation. /// Here’s an idea. When one of your trains just sits at the platform, not leaving on time, get someone to say what's going on! Shocking communication from SWT just now. /// Sat outside Farnborough train station with no explanation. /// Why send e’mails saying there are no disruptions when there clearly are? Why the lack of replies today? I appreciate that things will have been busy but people will want a response when things go wrong. [Response: Our resources have been tested today and we've had to dedicate them more to operational matters.] Better things to do? I thought communications during disruption was supposed to be a point of focus. Dreadful.
Fabulous fireworks. But unimpressed by the Metropolitan Police and SWT. Poor efforts to get us home and out of the rain. You should be running a lot more trains for this number if people! To get from Waterloo to Wimbledon I queued 1 hour in pouring rain, got into the station then waited half an hour for train. /// Surely on New Year’s Eve you should have been prepared for so many people, yet Waterloo has unacceptable queues!!!! Awful service. /// Can you sort things at Vauxhall, wrong platforms, people jumping the tracks, surely it's not too hard to work out the platforms? /// Our train from Fratton was delayed by 25 minutes due to awaiting staff at Portsmouth Harbour. We then boarded the train only to be told it wasn't calling at the correct stops. /// What is happening to help passengers on board trains terminating at Crewkerne due to flooding that cannot get to Axminster? My daughter has just been shoved off train at Yeovil Junction and has no idea what is happening.. /// I know it's busy but show some humanity to passengers facing short notice cancellations. Get us home. /// Train running fast to Waterloo now with no announcements...hope our driver is still on board. /// Getting very poor service from SWT currently. My train is the 12:38 to Southampton and it hasn't even left yet due to no staff. /// I've run from platform 3 to 1 to 3 to 1 to 4 to 1 today because of delays changing to which train is better and platform alterations. Sort it out. /// The first two trains from Portsmouth to Fareham cancelled! So I have to pay £20 for a taxi and train fares have gone up! /// Are you planning on running a better service from Guildford tomorrow morning than today? Was an hour late to work today! /// Please respond to my tweets sent over one hour ago regarding trains leaving ahead of schedule, and refusing to let passengers on. Four carriage trains twice an hour from Waterloo to Haslemere? Yeah, that should be plenty, no overcrowding whatsoever! /// New Year means a rise in train ticket prices, currently my train is delayed and the next is cancelled. /// Then the next train was supposed to be 30 minutes later but delayed with no time? Thanks SWT. Earning that price increase aren't you? /// Can you tell me why the 9.10 from New Malden left at 9.09? A full minute early. I am now late again! /// Do you have any plans to run trains on time at all - stuck at Guildford after cancelling one train, the next is 20 minutes late! /// More ridiculous service from SWT, no staff to drive train so decided to cancel it while on board! Gotta wait 30 minutes for another! /// I was the driver on the 09.25 Exeter-Waterloo that ran 150 minutes late. A big thank-you to the patient customers.. Not one complaint. /// What a complete shambles at Southampton Central it is, regarding certain trains and updated information, amongst staff… 50 minutes later, no reason for cancellation, no updated information, 3 different staff clueless. Will be an 1h 12min wait in total. /// What is it with all these short trains in recent days. Headed to London from Woking on crowded 13.17 that is only 4 coaches! /// Can I get a refund on my ticket when you decide the train I'm on is no longer stopping at the stations it’s supposed to? /// Thanks SWT for leaving Dorking three minutes early so I missed the train. How many times this week can you ruin my day?! /// How do you justify not keeping our connection waiting for 1 minute so your train, which was 15 minutes late, could connect with it? I would like to complain about the fact I missed a family funeral due to your poor service. /// Another train stopped at the station 4 minutes before, yet didn't open its doors. Common sense? /// I'm stood on a cold platform in Havant where I now have to wait for an hour because of YOUR cancellations and incompetence. Great, first train delayed so missed connection, next train no longer calls at my station as it left late. /// Managed to eventually phone a cab to come and pick me up. Now £30 lighter and 2hrs late. /// Changing platform at Vauxhall for the 00.19 train to Epsom with less than a minute to spare was a real **** move. Why though? You moved it from platform 3 to 8 as it drew up to the station. Was stood at the wrong end of the platform and missed it. /// Driver: "I hope this won't cause too much disruption to your journey". You're not stopping at my station so yes, it will! Train goes straight through Clapham Junction again adding 40 minutes on my journey. Why does this keep happening? /// Your 0913 from Hilsea just departed at 0911. /// Dozens of fare paying passengers unable to get on 0747 Hinchley Wood to Waterloo. I love short trains, special treat. Passengers wait where carriages should stop and then train rushes past them! /// Stuck on the 1103 from Waterloo, brakes are jammed on! Tell the driver to let us off, the front carriage is at Queenstown Road! /// Three days in a row and 3 different services I've been crammed into a 4-coach train that should be 8. 19:20 from Waterloo to Reading. /// Poor form this evening keeping hundreds of people waiting at Staines railway station because of missing replacement rail crew. /// Can you tell me why delays to and from Worplesdon are so frequent? 07:50 often late arriving at Woking, so my partner misses connecting train to Basingstoke at 08:00 most days. /// 4.5 hour commute to work this morning! /// Why did I have to get a bus from Winchfield to Waterloo this morning at 07:11 when a train going to Waterloo stopped at Winchfield at 07:07 but didn't open it's doors? [Response: That train was not booked to stop at Winchfield this morning. It would have stopped due to a red signal. The work taking place will start later tonight now but the revised train plan remains in place.] /// Poor information services and delayed trains for thousands trying to get from Twickenham. /// What happened to the 11:39 to Weymouth from Waterloo then? Booked in advance to get to the Saints football game and the train doesn’t show up. /// The train was late into Woking and no one held the connection to Farnborough, so I now have to wait for the 09:02. Just complete chaos. /// Fuming... That's my second train that has been cancelled today. /// Insult to injury. Guard announces: "Scheduled arrival time 0925!" Scheduled arrival time in fact 0852. So no delay, no apology. /// Normally it’s a 4 hour door-to-door commute, an extra 2 hours wasn’t welcome. So how the hell do I get home when I'm stuck at Weybridge with all Guildford trains cancelled?!?! /// I hope I don't have to wait for an hour and 20 minutes to get a train tomorrow morning like I did this morning. Rather cold. /// 7:55 from Virginia Water cancelled two days running? /// Reading trains cancelled last night due to lack of trains?? Refund? /// How come the 1802 to Woking is cancelled again? [Response: No, it isn't cancelled.] So, why isn't it stopping at Walton-on-Thames?? [Response: It's going fast to Woking to meet with a Weymouth train that didn't call at Waterloo.] OK. Why can't it stop at all the usual stops on the way? You know this is one of the busiest trains. /// Second time in a week I've tried to use SWT and all trains are cancelled from Parkstone. SWT are useless. No other word. /// Sounds like SWT should probably just shut down in the Southampton area today and try again tomorrow. Nightmare. /// 1423 Waterloo to Alton, how’d we manage to get wrong-roaded? Not cool controlling guys, not cool. /// At Raynes Park they've started keeping the doors closed on arrivals to stop people crossing to other train. // It's not yet the end of the week and I've lost nearly three hours to train delays. Sigh... /// Tempted to start getting a bus and two tubes into town rather than ever travel with SWT again. Been late too often recently, thanks!! /// Why do SWT keep closing the doors like 2 minutes before it's meant to leave!?!? /// What is going on with trains through Woking? 7.40 is one of the busiest trains in the UK and you run it short of carriages and late. /// Thanks SWT for dropping Woking stop on 23-minutes late 14.30 from Southampton. That's more wait and 2 changes for me then. /// Love it when trains leave a minute and a half earlier than they should. /// I really wish you wouldn't skip Clapham Junction when trains are running late! It makes a huge number of people even later! /// No train went north between Havant and Haslemere for 3 hours so how can the average delay be 60 minutes?? [Devious response: Sorry for the delay you experienced. We cannot always take the longest delay as it may not be representative for most.] /// Maybe a reimbursement for the driving lesson I will miss due to delays? /// Have arrived at London Waterloo 6 and a half hours after leaving the house. Is that a record? /// Your delays make me late to college - you cannot help me I am past help. /// A bit more tweeting information early this morning would have been helpful!!! My kids ended up stuck on a train at Haslemere. /// Delayed trains are one thing, platform announcements of delayed trains that then don't stop is quite another. /// Trains delayed due to crew not turning up... Southampton Central to Portsmouth & Southsea, was sat on the train for 20 minutes waiting for the crew. I have a lecture in 40 minutes. Would it be possible to get a free ticket out of this, since I was 30 minutes late to my important University lecture? /// Blue Monday. Setting new benchmark for the worst day of the year. /// [Twitter announcement: There is a train approaching Petersfield now bound for Fratton. Sorry for the problems.] Yeah and it didn't wait for anyone to get on. /// Two trains broken down at Wool, so dumped at Wareham again. Are you not capable of running a service properly? /// Why was the 18.31 Vauxhall to Strawberry Hill a short train at the busiest time? Not a chance for half the folks waiting to board. [Response: Sorry about this, we do this when there are no other options.] Well I have no option now but to take a train to Surbiton and get a taxi. Will I be reimbursed? Somehow I doubt it. /// Is the 1505 Waterloo to Weymouth short-formed? Four coaches seem like a bit of a joke as it's crammed. /// A train full of people just been chucked off at Motspur Park and drivers had no information about what we should do - help please? /// You're always sorry. 4/16 8 o'clock trains this year have run on schedule, yet you charged more than last year? /// 6 hours to get from Portsmouth to London yesterday. How do I claim a refund? /// Having to pay £40 for a taxi to Winchester from Southampton Central last night due to cancellations! Thanks SWT! Awful! /// My family (including 2 babies) stranded last night without a replacement service or help. They've still not got home. /// I could walk back quicker! Any buses or taxis available? Car park ticket expires at midnight!! /// Love getting stuck at Basingstoke with no replacement service! /// 11.00 Farnborough-Waterloo standing room only. Farnborough platform heaving. Need longer off-peak and weekend services. [Evasive response: We run as many carriages as we can, but a lot of maintenance is done on the fleet at weekends.] There are fewer services at weekends. Southern Trains run 12-coach trains on the Brighton line. Why not lengthen known busy services, eg at Farnborough? /// Following Saturday's chaos at stations after bad weather, what's your plan to improve communications to customers when this happens? [Revealing response: We are reviewing the events of Saturday this is not complete yet.] /// Out of 40 journeys this year 3 have arrived early, 7 on time, 1 cancelled and 29 late. Is this acceptable? /// I'll probably fail my university degree thanks to SWT, it's only Wednesday and I've been through 2 cancellations and 1 delayed train! /// THREE HOUR journey to work really started my day off well. Got on one of your trains at 8am and arrived at work at 11. Twickenham to Waterloo - could have been a bit speedier to be honest, and no one knew what was going on. /// What a disastrous journey into work I'm having courtesy of SWT! /// Thanks for making me include a cab journey in my commute home..... Your cancelled service made me miss a connecting train at Clapham Junction which after 7pm runs every hour. /// Epsom to Dorking late as ever, connection missed again. Please tell me the last time it was on time? /// There should be a category for half of stops cancelled, including a major connecting station, otherwise your figures are misleading. /// What the **** is going on at Alton? How many times do things have to go wrong before you do something about it? Full explanation please? /// 08:15 service to Waterloo. It did not run due to signal failure at Twickenham on Tuesday. A 15 minute journey took me 1 hour 10 minutes. /// There's been nothing at North Sheen in ages. /// What a terrible day's commuting.../// How can you possibly think putting a Woking stop on an already overcrowded 1735 to Weymouth is a good idea? I hope you get sued for a Health and Safety breach. /// What are you doing about the 6.22 to Portsmouth which has been sitting without power for half an hour. Your poor guard’s 'baffled'.
Saying sorry doesn't really help a student, losing out a large chunk of money. Can you fix your service please? You increase the fare today for a service that is already too expensive - then give us a small train that means we have to stand. /// Just found out train prices gone up. Great. Going to look for new job as Sally won't give a pay rise! [Blatantly untrue response: This is mostly due to Government policies, we always endeavour to keep rises minimal.] /// Why do you feel the need to charge me £3.50 with my 16-25 railcard for a 9-minute journey? Seems steep to me. [Blatantly untrue response: Fare rises are largely controlled by Government policies, we endeavour to keep the rise as low as possible on our network.] /// How can I claim a refund for services that don't provide first class when I've paid for a first class ticket? Happens too often. Important to bear in mind general Stagecoach policy is maximum profit for minimum service. /// Why are you not refunding season ticket holders for cancelled trains with no replacement buses? /// The season ticket increase has paid for some more incredibly **** service. /// Can you please send me the e’mail address of who I can complain to about not being able to get a refund for a ticket I won't use. ?/// Been sold 5 child tickets when asked for 4 at Havant office, only noticed on train. /// Really intrigued as to your justification for charging me £10 to get my money back from a cancelled service last Saturday? /// Your guard on 18.07 Poole-London is rude and heartless. I made a genuine mistake with my railcard and I've been to a funeral. [Stagecoach ‘greed first’ response: I'm very sorry to hear that, but the railcard must be presented and valid to support the ticket the discount has been applied to.] When you can see someone didn't realise it had expired and is willing to buy another they could be more helpful. [Unrelentingly greed-driven response: I do understand, but we can't be flexible with out of date railcards I'm afraid.] You could teach your staff to have basic customer service skills though. It's disgusting after a very sad day. /// Can you tell me how it’s legal to charge me £20 to get my possessions back via your lost property?
Your replacement buses are unreliable, the 8:10 towards Farnborough hasn't turned up and no communication as to the solution. I’m at work now, had to walk an hour because it didn't turn up. /// Why make your bus timetable so tight? Train was nowhere to be seen. If this happens again tomorrow I'll be on my way to your HQ. Utterly useless the lot of you. /// Told by Aldershot to use Stagecoach buses, however you may need to let Stagecoach in on this as they are refusing tickets and charging!! /// Why do you run a bus service if the buses don't turn up. I’m in Wanborough trying to get to Guildford, been waiting over an hour. /// I have spent 30 minutes waiting for a replacement bus at Wandsworth Town, TfL and Google promise one every 10 minutes. None from 4.47 till 5.20. /// No signs at Chiswick saying where the replacement bus was running from, and incredibly rude driver left young family at station. /// You really ought to provide more training for the drivers. He's doing his best with a satnav he borrowed from a friend. /// There should have been alternative transport sorted, not one bus for over 100 people not knowing how to carry on their journey. You have left 11 people wet and frozen in Liphook station. Very angry travellers. /// Why did the bus service start so late in the morning? I was on the 6:12 from London Waterloo and nobody knew anything. /// My dad is waiting at Havant, replacement bus didn't turn up, not back to normal is it? /// The replacement bus left earlier than was said, from Putney. The driver was a complete **** as well. It cost me £12 for a cab! /// Where are the Fulwell replacement buses? Two trains’ worth of people and not a coach for at least 40 minutes. Soaking wet, cold, on a bus and will be late for work. Cheers again guys. Always a pleasure. /// I have waited 25 minutes at Fulwell station for the replacement bus. Are they really running or is just another failure on your service? /// Any idea what time next bus leaves Hampton Court? Crowd is getting larger and larger! /// It's unfortunate the bus didn't turn up. What else can we do? /// Terrible replacement coach service at Bournemouth station, coach "missing" for 40 minutes, stroppy staff. How do I get a refund?/// On a replacement bus somewhere in New Forest. Left Bournemouth for Southampton at 07:05, still not arrived. Driver is lost and I'm late for work. Arrived at 9:25. Took nearly two and a half hours to travel 33 miles. 4 times longer than normal rail time. Not looking forward to return! /// There are at least 300 people at Eastleigh. No sign of bus replacements. /// No buses as far as I can see and one poor, harassed member of staff at the ticket office. /// Why haven't you put a bus service in place? It's been down for nearly 3 1/2 hours and there are numerous elderly people struggling. /// The bus was due at 14:41 but didn't show up until 15:10. None of the station staff knew what was happening either... /// 20+ people turned away from full replacement bus Romsey-Southampton. Next one in 1 hour. Extra capacity usually needed on match days. /// Total carnage outside Feltham train station. Car park too small for cars and buses. /// We drove through Twickenham with a very unfortunate driver! There are hundreds of people fighting to get on buses! /// This isn't a replacement service. This is a normal route. Bus is full and the driver is having to turn passengers away. /// Staff here knew nothing. Apparently there are 3 taxis but no one has seen one. Can we get in local taxi and reclaim? /// Trains terminate at Aldershot and no replacement bus. Brilliant PA. Absolutely nailed it today! Well done...
Any thoughts on the dangerous overcrowding and, as usual, no help and rudeness from the platform staff at Guildford this morning? No help, no announcements and rude. Why don't you feed this back to the station or central management? /// Can you advise me as to how I make a complaint about a member of your staff please? Can you sort out the attitude of your staff at Swanwick station please? They are always so rude and sarcastic for no reason. I'd like to complain about one of your guards, what is the e’mail address and how long do I expect to wait for a reply? /// Staff on platform 11 at Clapham Junction are the least helpful and rudest bunch. I enquired about the Shepperton line and I pretty much just got a shrug of the shoulders. /// Stopped to buy ticket at first available opportunity at Woking. I explained what I needed - journey from Dorking Deepdene (unmanned) station to destination. Guy on the gate first of all asked me to wait whilst he let others through. Nearly missed my train as I tried to get through the wide gate (carrying luggage) but he told me to go through narrow one. I showed him my VALID ticket for the journey, and he questioned three times whether I had correct ticket. /// The guard on the 18:39 from Waterloo just closed the doors on people getting on, gave no time for people to get on and off at Worcester Park. They were actively boarding the train too, not dawdling or late. Could have caused injury and split up a family. /// One of the supposed guards on my train this morning, checking tickets, has no uniform or ID. Never seen that before! /// How have I just seen a SWT driver hop off at Clapham Junction to get himself a coffee.. Explain that few minutes’ delay. /// Your staff have gone awol, platform 8 Wimbledon. /// [SWT repetitive announcement: Enjoy a £10 Day Return any Saturday or any Sunday from 18 January to 23 February.] I bought a ticket yesterday and the guard didn't mention it. Just sold me a now extortionate £35.80 travelcard. Why the deceit? /// Is it company policy for your staff to vanish when there are serious delays? /// Very poor management and your staff could not have cared less. /// How many SWT staff does it take to check a ticket? 13 at last count at Teddington station. Expecting trouble??? Doesn't look very efficient mind. Couple of guys checking tickets and the rest stood chatting. /// Bought a ticket with young person’s card which expires end of today. Attendant at FGW ticket office wrote on that is was valid today... "Revenue Protection" man on the 12.20 SWT train from Romsey to Southampton checks my ticket and doesn't believe me, takes my name.... I ask why he's taking my name, he replies to check that I'm telling the truth. He thought I wrote on my own railcard. Told him many times that the helpful attendant at Romsey ticket office wrote on it as the print had faded. He didn't believe a word. /// Could you tell the driver of the 17.18 from Kingston to Waterloo that he shut the doors on a baby buggy as a young mother got on! Mums with buggies tend to allow others on first, making them the last to join. This guard nearly hurt a young child!
Please tidy up Godalming station, it looks disgusting. I have been using this station regularly for over 16 years and have never seen it repainted!! It's horrible. /// Alley way to Esher station has not been maintained since before Autumn. Leaves are choking drainage leading to floods. /// People struggling to get off Shepperton train as doors not open in last 4 cars ‘because of short platforms’ - but they're not? Some people were not able to get off before the train departed from New Malden. Lots of frustrated passengers. /// If you're going to have reduced service due to track works it would be nice if your Haslemere staff put up posters warning us! /// I counted 30 individual pieces of litter on the stairs and entrance at Chessington South station. Any chance of more bins? /// Just missed train at Vauxhall because entrance on South Lambeth Road wasn't open at 4:45pm. And then you put up signs saying 'don't run'... /// Why is the rear entrance at Vauxhall station not open at 6pm? Usually is and that's clearly peak hours. /// Send someone who can count to platform 9, to find the missing 4 carriages. Happily announcing 12 coaches, but only 8 are here. /// Absolutely furious. Last 5 spaces in Brookwood station car park blocked by bags of aggregate. £103pm for nothing. /// Having more than one desk open and one machine working would help! The guard had better still give me my Network Railcard discount. /// Are you aware customers have to walk through a RIVER to get to the platforms at Putney station? Drainage is needed badly. /// Chessington South station had flooding at exit to stairs - someone has put a plastic barrier for people to step onto - slippery!
Just to let you know that the card reader on the ticket machine at Christchurch station isn't working. /// Went to Fratton station today to find out about trains to London on Saturday. Ticket office shut, no one on platform to ask.. /// I can't seem to top up my Oyster card from any terminal at Wimbledon station. The Oyster function on every terminal is greyed out. Your staff at the station weren't particularly helpful and simply palmed me off to TfL. I then had to pay for a ridiculously overpriced daily zones 1-4 travelcard so I can simply get to work. /// Machine at Grateley not working this morning. Guard unable to sell me a monthly season ticket so had to buy dearer weekly. /// I know there's flooding and all, but why the hell is Queenstown Road station completely shut? And can you please fix the broken ticket machine at some point? Out of order for about 3 months now. /// The machines at Hounslow are BROKEN! Won't accept card or notes. Missed my train so SORT IT OUT! Absolute joke of a service. /// Only 2 ticket machines working and no one staffing the desk at the rear of Surbiton station. 15-minute queue. Not a great start. /// A ticket machine just ate all my coins! Had to pay double for my ticket. /// Just had £20 swallowed by a ticket machine but given no ticket - how can I reclaim it? /// Oyster card payment machines not working at St Margaret’s or Richmond this morning. /// Weekly event at ticket machines still. Had to buy £11 travelcard instead of Oyster weekly. I won't let you get away with it. /// The ‘P’ doesn't work on your machine at Hampton Wick.....
Managed to get on 1812 Waterloo-Basingstoke but carriage 450 65118 is stiflingly hot. Could you get it looked at please? /// A heartfelt plea to turn the heating down on trains. It's mild for January and like a sauna on board. /// 06.18 from Winchester to Waterloo - unheated and freezing - takes me back to the 1980s. How about a smoking carriage for authenticity? /// [With picture] That's disgusting. Doesn't anyone clean your trains?! /// Shattered window on a fast-running service. It's Sunday: surely other stock available? /// I'm currently wedged into a door by four 'folding' bikes. /// Train guard: “We’re running behind schedule due to the high capacity of persons on this train..... Well it is rush hour SWT. Do they think a train out of Waterloo isn't going to be busy at 1742? The trains never run on time so commuters expect nothing less. /// Why can't you install overhead handles on trains?. Just fallen over on an over-packed train, and how much do I pay for this privilege? I pay the same amount for a return as I would for a flight to Dublin, yet I can't sit down for 45 minutes and I’m packed in like cattle. /// Any chance you could put some heating on the trains today? It's bloody freezing! I hear the BBC do a great weather forecast. /// I can take being late but you have the dirtiest trains on the network. Including First Class. I've been on three today and all are bad. Really bad. /// Well at least you got there with 2mins to go but it really isn't good enough. As for the conditions on the train?!! /// Not just one 4-car rush hour train, but two! Consecutively! /// It's desperately uncomfortable as it was this morning and I pay £4,076 a year to be treated like this. Disgraceful. /// Late night trains always have all the loos out of order aka 'locked'. /// Just got on the 07.55 to Waterloo at Honiton and the loo was disgusting - don't have time to stop in London, how do I complain? /// Sort your toilets out. Some are out of use and others are blocked and almost overflowing. /// When are you going to fix the dodgy barn door on the 15:50… It’s OK now, men in high visibility vests running down the platform with Sellotape. I'm walking home on my hands probably quicker. /// Sort your cattle carts out. Atrocious what you expect people to pay and put up with. You’re decades behind Southern Trains. When are you replacing the suburban stock used for peak Portsmouth-Waterloo services with something fit for long distances? /// How often are your trains deep cleaned? Not very often by the state of most of them. [Response: There is a full deep clean programmed every 210 days but with several intermediate cleans along with daily cleaning in too.] /// Nightmare getting off 12:34 Richmond-Waterloo today. Defective door in the buggy carriage meant I got stuck. Cleaner would not help! I left buggy and got off train to yell for help to no avail! Not a lot of options for investigation with baby stuck on train! Thank god for the kindness of strangers! /// People won’t move right down as there are no hand-holds by the central seats. So others get angry. /// The 1205 train from Dorking to Waterloo is a bloody mess! Rubbish everywhere. Not a public convenience on it either. /// Doors A1/2 on this car, 62817, don't work. Causing people to almost miss their stop. No sign on door saying out of action. /// Is there any reason why you heat your trains to melting point? It must be nearly 25 degrees in here.
Any chance of an apology? Lack of support, train staff disappearing and all the incorrect information. Yesterday was awful and there weren't enough people to deal with it. /// Regularity of failure on main SWT commuting lines is nothing short of a disgrace affecting the productivity of UK plc. /// You are making me hate living in Dorking, always issues, not a week that goes by without hassles. /// It's just shambolic. No information, no professionalism. People climbing through tiny gaps at gates. Overpacked trains. Unsafe. /// Not your fault personally but SWT are long on excuses and short on results or empathy. /// I honestly believe it is about time your MD addressed passengers about the serious failings and your remedy plan. Time for change. [Second caller: I would echo that. Shoveller is totally invisible. Shows total contempt for passenger concerns.] /// Now I'm stuck in Basingstoke because SWT staff lied to my face. The random excuse generator at the station is no use…. Jumped in a taxi. Cabbie says it'll cost £50. What a pathetic company SWT is. /// Are you doing anything for people in Axminster? Passengers now there 3 hours without any staff to tell them what's happening. /// As a result of this incident he no longer feels able to travel by train. /// The lack of communication is appalling. /// Thanks for leaving around 15 people behind from 1T49 when guard closed the doors. Once again, ‘sod the passengers’ is your motto. /// How can I get a refund on my season ticket? Using your trains is becoming too painful. /// Standing on this platform absolutely soaked and now I've missed my flight. /// If I could express to the whole world how much I hate SWT I would - I'm debating giving up work, that's how stressed I am /// Seriously packed, people literally in my face, delayed. Not what I need after work - for what I pay, this needs to be sorted ASAP! /// How many tweets do I have to make about your appalling service before I get a response????? /// Telling a young woman to 'walk home then' when asking for help is UNACCEPTABLE. I'm very upset and frustrated. /// The answer is SWT don't know how to run a decent service, no announcement or apology yet again. /// Second time I've been sold an off-peak ticket when I needed a peak one and then had to deal with being accused of lying. /// Your level of service is laughable. But after standing for over an hour before a seat became free, I’m not in the mood to laugh. /// Today had nothing to do with the storms. The crowds on the platform were dangerous and so many family days out spoilt. /// You are the worst train company in the country surely. /// Not worth the £10 ticket offer to be treated like cattle. /// People moan about Southern Trains but for last 2.5 years never have I received such bad service as I am today by SWT.
Third attempt trying to get a response from SWT. Please see previous tweets. /// 44 working days, 3 calls, and compensation claim still not sorted. £120 out of pocket and not happy. /// Adverse weather or not, the customer service shown yet again is appalling. I haven't even been apologised to yet. /// By "soon", does that mean this day, week, month, year, century or millennium? /// Yet again more woolly answers which are grossly vague. If you know you'll be busy, get more staff! It happens every year! /// When I challenge SWT on their poor customer service...they ignore it. /// What are the destinations available with ‘Winter Smiles’? Called your customer service and was told to look it up myself... Rude! /// I've been trying to contact your customer services and I just get stuck on hold - 15 minutes and counting. /// I've been waiting 42 days for my refund. /// It's been 2 months since I e’mailed Customer Services about a refund for tickets we were unable to collect because of flooding. Who do I need to speak to? /// The 14.58 from Eastleigh to Waterloo is either delayed OR cancelled ... Please decide and give clear accurate information. [Response: That train is cancelled from Eastleigh because of flooding at Hamble.] That's NOT what's on the screens or announcements. Exceptional weather conditions but, sadly, typically bad customer service. /// Any chance of you sorting out my late train refund from before Christmas? Only I'm sick of sending e’mails... /// I'm 31 weeks pregnant, sent Mums-to-be First Class Upgrade form and just found out they are 10 weeks behind! My baby will arrive by then! [Response: Speak to Customer Relations about this, maybe they can make an exception.] I already did. They say they can't do anything and it's all up to guards if they will let me travel in 1st class without the card. /// I really think SWT needs to take a long, hard look at their customer service. Four months before I get a reply? [Response: Have you tried to call them?] Funnily enough, yes. 16 times this morning before they picked up, and the response was dismissive, hence my discontent. /// Thoroughly disappointed to not have received a response to my complaint featuring three separate journeys. /// I was sold a £10 SWT-only ticket from Havant to Weymouth tomorrow but have been told there's no way to use it by customer services? [Response: That’s correct, you will have to use a Southern service to reach Southampton Central.] So the ticket which I bought from a SWT employee at the station isn't valid for the journey I asked for?
I use a wheelchair. Platform 15 lift at Clapham Junction out of service AGAIN today. Hugely annoying! Fix it once and for all!
Any idea where the 0801 from Hook to Waterloo is? Ticket office hasn’t a clue, broken phone apparently! /// Big thanks for failing to tell passengers that the train they're sitting on would be late leaving. I've now missed my connection. 8am Waterloo-Portsmouth. Told at 8.01 that an engineer was coming to fix a radio and they had 'no clue' when we would depart. [Train subsequently axed] /// 09:22 from Twickenham to Feltham. We'd have liked to have known why it was cancelled a minute before it was due in. The final insult was the recorded apology. It either comes from a person who is sorry, or it's glib and offensive. /// The indicator boards at Clapham Junction are currently showing incorrect information. The ‘Next Fastest Train To’ board was still saying Guildford 1850 when I caught the 1922 Guildford train. /// Late yesterday, late today. No announcements! What's going on at Waterloo! What is the guard doing? Well? My director wants to know the reason why. /// Are you kidding me! I almost ended up in Waterloo because the boards said the train was stopping at Fleet but it's not! It's because someone didn't update Basingstoke. I and some others are going to be complaining. We spoke to staff at the station and they were completely under the impression it was a stopping service, and the guard made no attempt to correct the staff when the information boards were wrong. // Grossly inaccurate information being provided about overcrowding at Clapham Junction by train guards! /// Sure the train that ACTUALLY turned up is 20 minutes late, but the previous cancellations mean passengers waiting on platform 50 minutes plus. /// Can you say when Wimbledon destination boards at back of platforms will be back? It is very tough without them. /// Please tell guards to stop telling people not to alight at Clapham due to overcrowding. I did and it was quiet. /// Glad we have that member of crew to not tell us why we're not moving…. Slowing down again. Thanks as always for a brilliant service. Any idea when we might move normally? /// Very poor show on information at Waterloo tonight. Disruption is one thing but not advising of key information is poor. /// Thank you for telling me the last train from Waterloo is for Twickenham, then chuck us out at Surbiton with no replacement bus!! /// Had some diabolical miscommunication from SWT and National Rail Enquiries last night re travel from Honiton to Waterloo. Two hours wasted. /// Still got last night’s excuse up for this morning's delays at Clapham Junction. /// Whom do I complain to about being kidnapped by your lousy service? [Response: Delay was due to a temporary shortage in train crew, apologies for any inconvenience caused.] The automated announcement at the station managed to relay that. Not the bit about it running fast though.... /// Why was the 14.30 service from Exeter to London cancelled 10 minutes before arriving yesterday? Serious lack of communication! /// Information would be good (not the same scripted 'I know nothing' message repeated every 30 seconds for half an hour). /// I don't mind the cancellations but the communication of affected services is poor from Haslemere to Waterloo. /// Please can you encourage guards to let passengers on the trains know what's happening? We're just sat here like idiots. We've been at Salisbury for about half an hour. /// The guard just made an announcement saying he wanted to make one sooner but he didn't know why we're delayed. He still doesn't. /// This SWT Waterloo to Leatherhead train has changed, after it left, to run direct to Epsom missing out Clapham Junction etc. What! /// Just how long do you take to notify the platform of a train leaving at 06.39! You gave us 3 minutes and it was a crush through barriers! /// Did you see the front page of the Metro this morning? Are you ashamed to work for SWT? /// Short formation train but any notice in Journey Alerts?? Nope! What is the point?? Absolutely fed up! Rubbish!!! /// 19:45 tonight West Byfleet wasn't advertised - guard said it was to keep congestion down. /// Train cancelled again – 4 days out of 5... Why advertise a service that doesn’t exist? No information, no explanation... /// A train due to stop at Martins Heron went straight through. Kiosk man says no more trains for an hour then one turns up. /// Don't put platform 10 on the board if you mean platform 8. Now I have to wait for the next train. /// Information boards failed and giving wrong information at Vauxhall. I missed 2 trains because of it. /// No announcements at the station. Nothing on the screens. No apology from the train driver/guard. You are a disgrace.
Why does the train depart 2 and half minutes early from when it’s supposed to? /// Could you tell me why my 9.10 Wandsworth Town to Waterloo train left at 9.08 please? /// Does it really need 8 staff to check tickets in Teddington at 4pm on a Monday? This is why trains are late. /// Your staff have made me late for a meeting this evening as member of train crew not there … moving now but 10/15-minute delays almost every day really starts to grate! /// Why is the 0900 from Farnborough to Waterloo cancelled? Once again, terrible service. /// Fiasco of the 6.16 from Haslemere - can I have my money back? /// Utter, utter joke of a train company. Are you going to roll ‘storm’ out every time it rains? Why not react to problems rather than reduce services just on the off-chance. You're not even trying. Put passengers first. [Second caller: I may not go to work tomorrow on the off-chance I fall over walking. Safety first.] Purely financial scam to shout ‘storm’, issue a revised timetable and avoid paying penalties. WE ALL KNOW. /// Biggest shambles ever seen at Vauxhall station tonight as a crew member missing at Waterloo. Didn't know you were on strike too? /// Please can you tell me why the 1730 train from Farnborough Main to Waterloo has been cancelled two days out of three this week? /// Why are all the Basingstoke trains cancelled? This will make travelling to Surbiton a misery. /// Thank you to SWT for making me wait in the cold for half an hour only for them to cancel my train. I enjoy wasting my day. /// 1630 has coupling problems; after waiting 25+ minutes, bloke yells "platform 13!". Everyone runs but train is already full. It's my wife who's travelling. Yes, she got moved to 23:45 (no driver or guard on 23:15, apparently.) Having to stand. /// Why the train cancellations through Ewell West? The 8.06 cancelled, the 8.37 disappeared, the 8.48 cancelled! /// My train on 31/01 was terminated after it became over one hour late and we had to board the next service, can I claim a refund please? /// I was wondering where the 6.03 from Claygate to Waterloo was. Then it raced through the station without stopping. /// Tears at the station as a SWT staff shortage cancels my train and makes me miss the last connection to Liverpool. Gutted. /// Once again you cancel a stopping service! Profits before service. /// I understand it’s not fully your fault but been on a train from Fratton to London for 5 hours now. Two trees and now signalling. Not on. I’m in between Woking and Clapham but now have missed the point of my trip. /// Saddened that it is Whitchurch and Overton customers you choose to sacrifice (bypass) when issues arise. /// 7.25 arrived with only 4 coaches. No information given, guard clueless. Many miss the train as it's too busy. /// How do we go about claiming a refund for our taxi home last night from Waterloo? [Second caller: With you all the way on this one, very badly managed last night... But they provided taxis at other stations?!] /// Do you know why trains are bypassing Norbiton from Kingston ie. passing straight through the station? Going to Waterloo. Been on the platform and two from Kingston have passed through without stopping. /// Thanks for ABANDONING us at Waterloo station last night. No buses, no paid taxis, no accommodation, no food. [Response: Sorry for this, please contact our customer services.] When would you expect this to be resolved? To be £120 out of pocket when not expecting it means it needs to be very quick! /// Had to get a £130 taxi from Waterloo to Guildford at 1.20am after you cancelled all trains. How do we get an immediate refund? [Response: Wouldn't be immediate unfortunately - please send receipt into customer relations.] That's not fair, is it? Why can't you issue refunds to everyone at point of sale? Guessing it's to discourage people claiming. After spending £130 on 'alternative arrangements', it's a bit much to expect us to contact customer services on an 0844 number. /// Sent a guard round the train promising we'll go or be sorted out with taxi... that was an hour ago. /// 1P51 formed of 5 coaches? Your service is an utter shambles at the moment. Do you know how horrific this will be to Guildford now? /// I gave up trying to get to work but you should see some of the passengers. Incandescent. [Response: I'm sorry that the signalling problems at Beaulieu Road have caused problems this morning]. /// Thanks for running the 19:37 from Weybridge out as passengers were trying to cross from the (late)19:02 Waterloo train. Crap service. /// Tell me why this train left 3 minutes early. You say up to 30 seconds early not 3 minutes. /// So the 13:07 left Poole early. Guard had locked the doors by 13:06 and the train left Poole 20 seconds before scheduled departure. /// There's no train. Whole platform of people trying to get to Shawford, Winchester, Basingstoke and Farnborough now stranded!! /// Second consecutive Thursday night out in Weybridge and 2nd consecutive week trains are cancelled. /// My wife was stuck in London last night because of this... Is her ticket valid for today? /// How do I claim financial compensation for the 2 HOURS we were stuck on our train? Refund of fares totally unacceptable. /// Your trains are always early leaving the station at Isleworth! I’ve now got to wait an hour for my second train! /// Yet again another shocking service for Dorking commuters with short formations, what’s your excuse today? /// Can you tell me why the 10.04 train from Isleworth pulled away a whole minute early, leaving my boyfriend on the platform? /// Some very angry passengers at Weybridge who now have to wait half an hour. Couldn't you have waited 15 seconds to let us get on? I was told by the train manager to get off and walk to the front because the train was going to split...Train stopped for no more than 30 seconds. Now I have to wait another 54 minutes for the next service! /// You've managed to screw up 2 consecutive days. No such thing as a reliable service, is there? /// I always hate that "train will now start from..." rubbish. You're screwed if standing at station it was meant to go from. /// A new low in your stunningly inept service this evening at Wandsworth Town. 20-minute delay with no announcements or information.
SWT are going to be hearing from me. I've had enough. You don't raise fares and provide a WORSE service. /// Any danger of SWT ever getting me to work on time??? Every day they apologise for one screw up or another. I pay too much for this!!! /// SWT official at Clapham Junction said OK to travel on return ticket from cancelled service yesterday. Train guard has just charged me...??!! /// Would rather not have my car clamped when I have paid for parking before restrictions came into place. /// Just spent £60 on tickets instead of £40 because, when I went to log in and pay, your website removed my railcard. So angry... /// Why were we not allowed to get Groupsave tickets for the 9.23 Egham - Waterloo when another group were?! /// I was promised a full cash refund by your staff at Wimbledon to then be told that's not policy. /// Got denied on using my Young Person’s Railcard on SWT yesterday. No explanation, just 'not letting anyone use it today'. On 18.27 train from Clapham Junction to Salisbury. Had to pay full amount and he was very rude and quite frankly upset me. /// Just Oystered out at Earlsfield after being stuck on delayed train, and have been fined £8! Refund please!?
I understand the need for bus replacement at Fulwell but waiting 40 minutes for the bus is atrocious form! /// Bit of a fail for SWT, they did not estimate how many replacement bus services coaches they needed at Bournemouth this morning. /// Internet journey planners and Hedge End station signs showing different bus times. Got to Yeovil. No bus here. Station staff don't know what's happening./// Any chance of some buses at Hedge End? A couple of hundred very cold paying customers here. This is ridiculous. A normally 15-minute commute should not take 2 hours every day. Please review the current system. /// No-one on the 3.55 replacement from Portsmouth Harbour, as we got directed to get on 4.05. We will all miss connection now. Could you improve communication from your bus staff at Portsmouth Harbour and ensure drivers know the actual timetables? /// Bus replacement service from Ash Vale to Ascot hasn't turned up, 15 minutes late. It's OK, it's not cold in the middle of the street. There were no signs on where the bus would stop, we had to call the help line. Remember posters next time please. /// Thanks for the imaginary replacement bus from Strawberry Hill last night. Just a pity cabs don't take imaginary money. /// Awful replacement service from Clapham Junction to Twickenham yesterday.. Bus driver didn't know where to go and asked us for directions! /// Ensuring your replacement buses aren't 30 minutes late would be a start. /// It's a shame nobody at SWT bothered telling the bus drivers. Late and out of pocket today.
Absolutely disgusting "service" from one of your staff at Vauxhall just now - the way I was just spoken to was a joke. /// Do you think it's acceptable for your guards to push people off trains just because they've hopped on at the very last second? The train actually left early as well. /// Utterly unimpressed by the aggressive guard on 13.04 from Havant-Waterloo who refused to give back my Young Person’s railcard and ticket... /// I have just seen one of your dispatch staff spitting on the line at Vauxhall platform 8. Disgusting!! /// Very strange to have 2 ticket inspectors not in uniform (0610 Ascot to Waterloo). Are they genuine? /// Disgusting, intimidating rude behaviour from SWT (we have your name) - wife nearly in tears - ashamed I use them daily. Your employees called my wife a liar and intimidated her. Will she be safe travelling home tonight - I'm not sure. Disgusted. Will you reply? Will she be safe from your employees? /// Explain why my 16-year-old sister was escorted off the train on her own when she tried to buy a RETURN because your machine was not working? This was in the cold and the dark last night. After explaining her predicament, she was stranded for 2 hours waiting for the next train. This is your Hamble ticket machine that never works properly. PLEASE Explain how this can happen? Also the guard’s ticket machine wasn't working. But she had to buy a return anyway? Claiming it wasn't his problem?? /// Appalling abuse from Waterloo SWT ticket office. Don't ask about options. They'll accuse you of not listening and refuse to speak. /// The rudeness and lack of help from your staff is the issue! LU staff where able to help with no issues. Why not yours? /// A man in SWT uniform talks loudly in his phone in the quiet carriage. Time to acknowledge the quiet zone is redundant? /// Staff so rude to my daughter at Waterloo. The ticket didn’t print out for her journey, and he said she was lying and to buy a new ticket! But on the ticket it says coupon 1 for the ticket and coupon 2 for the receipt and no return ticket was issued. She missed her train! /// You have the rudest staff at Staines station. I am drenched in water, having dropped my ticket in the flood and I get sworn at. /// Platform staff just told us they're not allowed to talk to management! Seriously. /// Total jobsworth at Guildford station, platform 6, taking more than a little pleasure in someone having the wrong bike, rude. [Response: During peak hours our staff are required to enforce the cycle policy as restrictions do apply.] Which I understand, but there is no need for rudeness, mocking someone and the level of sarcasm your employee showed. /// Just to let you know your staff was rude at Waterloo's fiasco last night and invisible. Thanks to Network Rail we are safe home. [Response: What problems were you having? Drop our Customer Services a line and we'll investigate.] Stranded for 6 hours at Waterloo without any information. It took 3 hours to make trains available for shelter. No alternative means in place. /// Guard on the 6.23 Waterloo service from Windsor saw me walking along platform ready to board, but locked doors with no warning. Why? I know the rules, I was there with 2 minutes spare and was walking alongside the train. I walked past the guard so I know he saw me! Literally five seconds’ warning would have saved me a cold half hour delay. /// So, first time in a month the barriers at Aldershot are switched on, and the Revenue boys are here. What's the point? Not cost-effective and 5 officers is too many. They look menacing and spend most of their time chatting. Face of SWT? /// How about educating your station workers about the fold up bike policy! Telling me I can't do my journey, but hello it's a fold up. /// He was so damn scared. Not sure if he was thinking clearly. Cab driver really nice about it. But SWT? “Sod it, leave him stranded.” /// Guard refused to let my brother on 7.25 from Tisbury because you don't put enough coaches on and he is now late for first day at job. /// How do I report verbal abuse by a member of staff at Vauxhall station? /// AWFUL at Queenstown Road. Ticket Assistant sat on her phone playing games ignoring commuters’ problems. She refuses to give me her name. /// Why do most of the staff at Putney use their phones while on platform rather than help customers? /// This morning I had the displeasure of engaging with a very rude member of your team at Waterloo. How can I make a complaint? Rushed to catch the train, I got on, went to ticket officer and one of your staff were rude and accused me of trying to avoid paying! [Unconcerned response: I'm sorry the staff member was rude, the policy is you should buy a ticket before boarding.] The train was at the station and was on the other side, I would have missed it, that's why I went straight on to buy one. /// When the train finally arrives it comes in to the wrong platform - with guard then shouting abuse at people. /// I am angry at the rudeness of the train guard this morning, better customer service is necessary.
I tweeted you a few weeks back about the dangerously slippery floor at Chessington North when it rains - any update please? /// Pathetic that they have just closed the waiting room at New Milton leaving us to stand outside and then a train goes past. All your trains are late so we have to stand out in the wind, great service. /// If we are all going home late you lot should put your passengers first! Yet another total bodge-up of the trains tonight. Moving 2 train loads of people from platform 12 to 10. Ridiculous and dangerous. /// At Oxshott station, toilets, waiting room and ticket office all shut at half 7, not exactly welcoming is it? /// Are you offering cheaper parking at Southampton Airport Parkway for people hit by the landslip? The bus service is shocking!! [Response: No.] /// Station staff unaware of restrictions as are RingGo. I paid £12.10 this morning to park. Told I couldn't. /// Your customer services are unaware of car park changes at Farnborough. Your planning is dire. No restrictions advertised on the station, staff unaware and 200 spaces now taken off customers. /// The gate to Hilsea station was padlocked this morning. No idea why. Would it be possible to get it opened please? Lots of people missed their train as they couldn't get over the fence. I had to get over as my train was on the platform. /// Your lack of communication over the Farnborough car park works is a disgrace. The management is a disaster. You should be ashamed. /// Lights on exit of Worcester Park southbound platform to street all off. People on concrete steps in the pitch black. Someone is going to fall. /// RingGo and your customer services state there are no parking restrictions yet we are turned around. /// Just to mention the electronic boards at Thames Ditton aren't working, they aren't displaying the next train that is due. /// Why does your waiting room at Andover station close at 4.30pm in the winter time? /// Why so many broken escalators at Waterloo? 10 minutes to get from road to concourse. /// Why? Winchester station adverts: clean and dry. Seats: covered in soapy water and dirty footprints. /// The lights are out and it's rather dangerous ascending the stairs at North Sheen. It's been 3 nights. // Staff littering on the platform... There are bins you know... /// I had to put my ticket through the machine to exit Surbiton, how am I supposed to claim if I have no proof of ticket? /// I’m at Winchester. Your office is still selling tickets to London even though EVERY train is full. What are you playing at!? /// When are the ladies toilets going to reopen on platform 4 at Surbiton? Been a while now. /// Fancy asking staff at Woking to deal with the two lads on the platform smoking? /// Is there anybody at Weymouth station, ticket office closed, machine not excepting money, trains unclean!
Can't top up Oyster cards at Queenstown Road ticket machines again. Any particular reason why this keeps happening? /// Top-up machine isn't working and is the only one in the station, in the process of not serving me I missed my train! your oyster machines are useless on SWT stations. Do you spend ANY money on maintenance?? Pathetic. /// Strawberry Hill. The train was due not for another 2 minutes but each step took a minute. 5 minutes to top up. /// Why does self service no longer issue receipts only credit card sales voucher? /// Please sort out the ticket machines in Wokingham car park. /// Apparently waiting on card reader, three weeks, and no power. Station staff helpful but no one helping them. /// A ticket machine at Waterloo charged my card twice by mistake. /// New improved ticket machines are shockingly slow. Suggest urgent improvements needed. Very much worse today but still too slow on a normal day. 3 machines, 7 people in the queue, 15 minutes wait = missed train. /// Metric car park machine not working at Bournemouth. Many days does not accept payment. You may want to raise with Metric.
It's so crowded in this train it’s unbelievable! 3 coaches only from Exeter to London! Ever thought about adding more coaches?!! And you didn't predict your winter offer would make it peak demand?? Shocking. /// People unable to board at Tisbury. When limiting service due to engineering would it not be sensible to run 8 car trains? /// Useless SWT, not only did you rape me on the ticket price but there's now a torrent of piss flowing towards me from the loo. /// Man just fainted on 8.53 Surbiton to Waterloo. Too hot. Again. When will this change? /// Reckon we could turn the heating down a notch on trains with sealed carriages. I may have to strip down to my pants otherwise. 23.28 to Windsor & Eton Riverside. Sick. Nothing compared to what I later endured. /// Filthy and broken toilets both on 9:20 from Waterloo this morning and on return train from Axminster. Why such a mess? /// There's no seats on this train and guard said we can't sit in 1st class. I want my money back, I didn't pay to sit on the floor. /// Given current conditions and train cancellations, why are people left standing on trains when 1st class is empty? /// Why did you chose to lock so many carriage doors at the front of the 9.45 to Hounslow this morning?? For some reason you were only able to open the doors in the last few carriages which meant a very long walk!! /// Do you like putting on the heating full blast during rush hour when everyone so crammed they are unable to take jackets off? /// Thoroughly disgusted to be on a 2.5 hour train from Bournemouth with no working toilet and conductor gone missing. I walked the full length of the 10-carriage train earlier but every loo was out of order. /// Why is it so hot on the train?! Actually I think I'm melting. /// Guess what else - Someone just collapsed and hurt their head. I hold you all personally responsible. /// My mistake for thinking that a SWT train would be big enough to fit a suitcase somewhere. How stupid of me…/// It's the 07:03 West Byfleet-Waterloo, the air-conditioning smells like it was linked to the toilet (sorry but it's true!) /// Why are your trains via Richmond still too hot? People nearly fainting today. It's not cold, just wet. People wear coats. /// Not sure which is worse, the cockroaches or the pool of vomit I just sat next to. Oh the joys of commuting. Man opposite had one crawling towards his leg. Had to tell him. Not spoken to a stranger on a train for a long time. Cockroach bonding! /// Great noise coming from the air conditioning on the last carriage of the 08.13 Chiswick-Waterloo; Sounds like a cement mixer. Why is the 15.52 Clapham Junction-Guildford only 5 coaches? Full and standing before it arrived at Clapham Junction. [Response, ignoring failure to adjust for half-term: This must be due to unusually high passenger flow, the trains is scheduled to be 5 cars normally.] Very little free space to even stand today. Between carriages is the only clear space. /// One defective train caused this mess?? Should have walked, would be quicker! /// Toilets on the 9.12 Reading-Waterloo not working. Lots of kids onboard.. /// Why did we have to get off a working train at Ascot and then wait for another on the same platform? /// Bad service from Weymouth to Waterloo. You would think with the number of tickets pre-sold they'd have enough carriages. /// How does SWT get away with running all these four coach trains from London? 18.20 Exeter train from Waterloo dangerously overcrowded. No staff, passengers close to fighting one another. /// Glorious day on SWT, more than half the lights are out on my train, making it extra dark going through tunnels! /// How many sardines can you get on a SWT train? 08.06 Axminster-Waterloo. Standing all the way. Disgusting! So overcrowded, there is no room for new passengers! /// Shame I can't use another train operator to get there by train. I gave up and left. No point in travelling as I won't have enough time in London. /// Awful journey this morning on packed train, not wise offering £10 tickets when major sporting events are on and known about. /// When are you going to start running 8-car formations on weekends? Not even at Wimbledon yet, and the train is already sardinesque. /// 1hr 30mins on your train with two young kids, and you have no working toilets! How can you operate a London train with no toilets? /// Crap service trying to get to London with SWT; had to miss two delayed trains because they were crammed full. Not happy. /// You offer things and you cannot go through with them! 6 carriages to London when there are matches on? How disorganized are you! /// It’s dangerously overcrowded and an accident waiting to happen. People falling out the doors when they open and no one can get on. /// What about the elderly lady standing next to me now that can't get through the crowd to get to the toilet? MANY elderly and young standing very squashed. Two-hour journey 08:00 Yeovil-Waterloo. Seriously need to sort it out. /// MAJOR safety issue; last night's last train from Waterloo to Portsmouth was only 5 carriages. It always has been. Rammed. Unacceptable. /// Over-packed trains – Southampton Parkway-Waterloo, Saturday a.m. Couldn't get on, so had to drive. How do I get a refund for my unused tickets? /// Pretty disgusting to put up with smoking. Reported it to your guard but no idea what he did about it. Left Waterloo just after midnight. Another passenger I saw told him to put it out but they were quite an intimidating group that included the smoker. /// Just can't believe you've made 1P51 5 coaches again. Instead of an apology, you should have to travel on it. You're a joke! /// In all my experience of travelling in London, SWT trains are the dirtiest and most disgusting! Disappointed. /// Even first class is grotty in this SWT carriage. Worn seats, dirty etc. Shocking. Your trains are always filthy, especially the luggage racks. Dirty bag/coat daily. /// Why are there 3 empty 1st class carriages on the 1755 Alton train? People standing on shoulders here with 10% of the train empty. /// One train, 3 toilets - not one works. /// 0719 from Virginia Water, raining in first class. Water dripping down from carriage ceiling. What a shower.
[Examples of Cowboy Country Stagecoach in a nutshell]
* Your prices are ridiculous, your staff are rude and we have received absolutely no information whatsoever.
* Your train service is s***! And no communication from staff! Yet you charge a bomb!
* [Various passengers] I turned up 15 MINUTES early for my train at SWT but missed it cos the train was early. [SWT Response: What station please?] Witley. 8.13 departed at 8.01. Sounds like the one I missed at Farncombe - 0825 came at 0812 - how was anyone expected to know that would happen? [SWT response: This train ran earlier due to the points failure, this was a last minute decision. Apologies for lack of information.] Not even station staff were aware of it, poor service. Train I have to get now was due at 8:53, now delayed by over 10 minutes! Terrible decision! Who was to know in advance! Messed up so many people's commutes! [Dogged SWT response: This train was run earlier due to the points failure, the next one towards London should be the delayed 0849.] I have not spoken to a single customer, including colleagues who use different SWT lines, that aren't shocked by this tactic. Doing this to manipulate the delays figures is outrageous. Will ORR count leaving early as a delay?
Disappointed with SWT’s expensive tickets, no seats available, charged to use toilets on station and dirty waiting room (Portsmouth & Southsea). /// SWT don't like running any trains unless paying customers are forced to stand. /// Cheers for leaving me and my 3 year old niece stranded at Dorchester station. Just cos you’re running late.....You close doors quickly and separate a mum and her child! Brilliant!! It's difficult with a sobbing child. Oh, and the other arrangements were at additional personal cost! /// Why does it take 10 minutes to sell a ticket? /// I appeal to someone - anyone - at SWT to acknowledge the damage the constant unreliability of your service does to your patrons. Crammed on the delayed 7.26(?) now. Literally no room on the 7.17. Terrible communications at station. Very frustrating to be late again. /// Staff at the station conspicuously absent this morning. Service worse than usual. And that's really saying something. /// Half an hour navigating website for journey by SWT only to be told ‘sorry technical problem’ when trying to pay. /// Certainly the HR department of SWT is rife with no-goods and ignorant terrors, Having experienced it I am glad I'm out of it! /// SWT are truly useless. They couldn't run a toy train set on time. /// Worst 1st Class business journey ever today with SWT - Total disgrace and would you believe over a spoon, yes a spoon! /// I'm happy I'm leaving this country so I won't have to deal with SWT anymore! Good luck with your further exploitation of your customers. /// Delayed on the way back too! We suggest take less profit and do proper maintenance!!! /// You’re not sorry you bunch of Jobsworths. /// Late leaving again. What do you have against parents spending time with their children? Or are you just incompetent? /// Shutting the train doors on students in Winchester. OK the train was running late but trapping students is just not on, people had to force doors open that were closing on them.. Not safe at all! The warning for doors closing went almost as soon as the last passengers left, not fair on people boarding, I don’t want a repeat! /// Having experienced SWT’s shocking customer care today, am really pleased to have C2C as my local service!! Was told by staff at Waterloo I could board 30 minutes earlier train to Bournemouth. Guard then turfed me off at Basingstoke to catch train I should've been on, only to find it didn't even stop there! Other option was to pay £50. Which was more than my entire return journey from Essex! /// Wimbledon station was a disgrace today. Uninformed staff coupled with delays all round. /// Really need to sort Southampton Central out! Staff are appalling, train board is incorrect causing missed trains. /// SWT should be fined for their lack of customer service, poor performance, and all round total and complete inefficiency. If drivers don't know where they are going and station staff don't know what's happening, who is helping passengers? /// Thanks for ruining yet another weekend. How do I get compensation for severe delays? Unbelievably, after one cancellation and another delay, you've now announced this train won't go to Wimbledon. Is this a joke? /// Terrible. SWT shut doors and left prematurely at Surbiton. People trapped in doors. Someone screaming for help. Completely ignored by staff. /// £78.40 each for a train ticket - you can see why I'm just so slightly annoyed about paying for a taxi as well. /// No respect for customers at all. /// Another lost cause, then. A bit like today’s service, looking at my own and others’ experiences! /// Since you go to the hassle of publishing a timetable, do you think it might be not too great a stricture to adhere to it? /// SWT worst public transport. /// I have NEVER known a more hopeless train service than SWT! EVERY time I get one there are delays/problems! /// First time using you and you're shocking. Delays, cancelled. Won't be bothering with you again. /// My train went straight past and didn't stop at my station. Cheers SWT, useless as usual. /// Another great service from SWT at Winnersh. The weekend ticket office that is never open when it is meant to be. [Indifferent response: Please buy tickets from the ticket machine.] Along with the 20 other people waiting? Prices go up yet again, same shocking service continues. [Second caller: Shameful response from SWT there. One machine totally inadequate. I doubt SWT care though.] Of course not. No interest in any form of customer service. /// Any chance of a refund? This service is a joke and it’s not the first time either. /// Replacement buses are one thing, putting lots of people on wrong train is inexcusable, and with no information. One hour extra wasted. /// I’ve started to use South Eastern Trains as well now. Hope their service isn't as rubbish and unreliable as SWT. /// You are an absolute joke! Train running late so you decide to not stop at most stations (and tell us once we get on?!) /// One excuse after the other from SWT - swear they just pick them out of a hat. /// If you could tell my boss why I'm now late, that would be fab. /// We're making a report for BBCSR - Is it worth spending all this money on new tracks when overcrowding is already a massive issue? [Response: You'll need to contact the Stagecoach press office about this: http://ow.ly/v2OV8 ] Thanks. We tried these numbers but unfortunately were turned away. /// Two of us were getting on with buggy, the doors opened, we literally put the front wheels on the train and the beeper went!!! It was around 1130am, yes the doors opened fully but were probably not open 30 seconds before they beeped to close again. /// Would be nice to have season ticket that doesn't stop working after 24 hours. And no, it hasn't been near bank cards, mobile devices. /// Is it not more important that when the train turns up it has its passengers on it? It's no good to me being on time if I’m not on it. /// Why are your trains so disgusting? Why?
Two months and counting for you to respond to my complaint! /// Can I suggest that as a gold card holder and payer since 1997 that someone in your customer relations contacts me.... 3 months and still no answer to my complaint, despite several e’mail chasers. Great customer service! Should I be concerned that the SWT train I booked with Megabusuk for next Saturday doesn't exist on National Rail? /// Have you accidentally put a coat over lost property phone line?! Been trying all day to get through. /// Sent £230 taxi receipt to Customer Services in Southampton on 17th February for refund. Had no response yet [13th March] and worried it's not been received. /// Are there still delays in processing claims? I sent mine off in December but still haven't heard anything. /// Still waiting for a reply to my complaint... Do I have to write a complaint about the lack of response to my complaint?! /// You've ignored my letter 8th the phone? It is incredibly frustrating and bad customer service. They hung up the line earlier. /// If I contact customer relations, will they actually do anything? I am still awaiting a reply to an e’mail from November 2013. /// Grumpy thanks to SWT for selling me the wrong ticket this morning. Any chance of a reply to my complaint of January and subsequent e’mails asking you to respond. /// We've hit the 35 minute mark. Still holding. [Unhelpful response: Sorry for the wait, most of our staff are answering letters rather than phones at the moment. Shouldn't be much longer.] /// Laptop left on the train 13/03/2014, filled in form, called 30 times - phone answered 3 times. Told to ring later. Bad service. /// Your site should never redirect in that way. Terrible user experience. As for the information, I'll look it up again when I'm on a computer. /// Your lost property team don't answer the phone! /// Why do lost property NEVER answer about a mis-sold ticket? It's been 6+ months and no response yet (after several reminders) Sold wrong ticket by SWT vendor, almost arrested on tube and had to buy extra ticket to get home. /// So do I expect to hear anything before Christmas? I was left stranded and it took me 3 hours to get home! Absolutely disgusted!
Why are you always doing engineering works in Ashford Surrey? 4.5 hour journey from Portsmouth? I could fly to Spain in that time! Disabled and having to travel the most difficult of routes! /// Old habits at SWT. Disabled toilet on 19.39 to Winchester and beyond out of order on departure. /// Did you know your 'Assisted Travel' number is not working? Tried 5 times, got a couple of odd tones then the call is cut off. Basically ended up leaving with barely any of the information we wanted after several minutes feeling like we a real irritation to them. /// We came through the barrier at Guildford and the ticket inspector asked if we needed the ramp, we said yes. 5 minutes later no ramp. /// It was the so-called Passenger Assistance man on duty at Waterloo. Unfortunately not able to make decisions on the hop and needed me to explain to him what he was saying was discrimination. Other passengers wouldn't take this standard of "care" why should I? Oh, and the "working" lavatory smells like a cesspit and is very unpleasant to HAVE to sit next to. /// Why do you treat the elderly and disabled like second class citizens? Appalling incident at Waterloo this evening. The details are simple, 10.00-1015 your customer assistant at Waterloo decides not to man disabled gate. /// Yesterday you jammed a disabled man in your doors, today same train shows up late then breaks down after one stop.
Once again the 07.57 has dropped off the board at Hampton Wick - assume it's still running - have just reassured 4 very stressed people! /// A load of us got put in taxis and sent to Eastleigh. What happens from here? No information seems to be flowing. /// Extremely bad communication and service from SWT. I hope they'll be paying the £80 for my train back to Birmingham tomorrow. /// I was at Southampton Airport Parkway, then Southampton Central, trying to get to Waterloo. Have given up and will have to try again tomorrow morning. /// Why do you say ‘up to 40 minutes’ when I’ve been sat on a train stuck at Hamble for over an hour already?! /// Travel misery at Woking again this morning. Virtually no information from SWT at all. Station staff conspicuously absent. /// [Official line: The 0757 from Stoneleigh was shown as non-stop from Motspur Park, 4 coaches and would have been announced as such.] Trust me, there were no announcements...I was there. As for the board, when I arrived it was still displaying the normal information. The guy only announced it wasn’t stopping when everyone was already on the train. /// Reliably informed that SWT aren't announcing a train has been cancelled because it gives a "negative" image. Orwell would be so proud. /// No guard, no explanation as to why we are stuck - quality service once more from the habitually rubbish SWT. /// SWT now run mystery trains! They say 1912 Basingstoke service from platform 12 at Waterloo, then take us to Guildford. /// A train load of people just got on a train to Epsom thinking they are going to Chessington South. Poor communication at Wimbledon after a 45 minute wait... You just need better communication, staff at station clearly aren't supplied details. /// Thanks for the unannounced platform change! Just missed my train at Vauxhall! Platform alterations are happening less than 2 minutes before departure and announcements are inaudible in many parts of the station. /// Does Winchester have a usable PA system? Why can't they give announcements that train is cancelled prior to arrival, ie the 7.05. /// The fact a train is not stopping at a particular station on its normal route is only useful before you get on it. /// No trains stopping at Vauxhall and no information about this at station entrance. People are wandering between platforms looking for clues. /// Must be bad on SWT this morning, they turned the platform information system off again. /// The 19.46 from Andover. NO announcements or information. Second time cold and stranded on a Sunday night. /// Travelling backwards was not my plan. At least have the decency to tell us what is going on. Cold and unhappy end to the weekend. /// SWT as informative as ever. I quote from the guard "I've no idea why we've set off late". /// No announcement, I only knew about problems from Twitter. A lot of people very confused. No staff on platforms 5/6. /// Your website showing 0739 Hampton to Waterloo via Richmond on time, when it's cancelled. /// Can you ask Wimbledon station to make sure its information boards are correct, everyone for Guildford via Epsom train missed it.
It didn't stop. There was no explanation, no sign of the guard and a lot of disgruntled people had to get off at Surbiton. So if I get to my destination late, does that mean I get a refund on my ticket? 20 minutes on trains 40 minutes on platforms, rubbish. /// Yet again spending my evening courtesy of SWT sat on a stationary train outside St Denys. This is getting tedious. /// So the train can change which stations it stops at when running late. Can I change the amount I pay when I'm a bit short? /// Thanks SWT for letting us get on at Raynes Park then go past every station until Waterloo before letting us off with no explanation! /// Been dumped at Fratton by the 1930 Waterloo-Portsmouth Harbour. Who do I give my £5.80 taxi receipt to for reimbursement? /// The driver forgot to stop. /// Is Shoveller even aware of the problems with Alton service and does he really think the big issue is with Woking cycle storage? /// 1615 Shepperton train terminating at Fulwell". Why? What do we do then? The next train (30 minutes later) also delayed. /// Fast to Waterloo? Not stopping after Motspur Park? Poor guard looks stressed this morning. /// Bloody disgraceful service from SWT tonight. Train half hour late, and 5 minutes from Branksome they announce they're not stopping there anymore. /// Will the shambolic service you are running out of Waterloo improve or should I make alternative arrangements to get home tonight? /// Having to stand in the cold waiting for a train because incompetent SWT let their trains leave earlier than they advertise. /// Why have you now cancelled my train? The one to Waterloo that suddenly became direct to Waterloo. So to go to Kingston I'm now 30 minutes late !! [Unconcerned response: Sorry for that, we had to run it fast to avoid the train it formed from being delayed, hence the situation escalating further.] You spoil my weekdays with your s*** service. Thanks for also spoiling my weekend ! /// Don't you just love it when the train slows down as it arrives and speeds up not stopping for you to get on it!!! 11:54 at Fleet! /// It turned out to be cancelled in the end ... But went through Godalming without stopping ... [Indifferent response: it ran empty to its destination to ensure the service it formed didn't run late.] /// 1828 left early from Richmond while we waiting to get off Overground train. /// Sometimes the trains leave 2-3 minutes BEFORE they are due to leave - why are they allowed to do that? /// “08:22 Epsom to London Waterloo will run non-stop from Motspur Park to London Waterloo.” - thanks for that... Why not Clapham? By 'running trains fast' you are actually taking them out of service and increasing overcrowding in peak. /// Can you tell me when the last train from Waterloo arrived at Totton on time?? /// I was on the 10:20 from Waterloo, and missed my connection at Basingstoke to Southampton Airport Parkway. I was late for an important production meeting. Makes me look very unprofessional. Refund? I'm a freelancer, first impressions are very important. /// The 23.16 train departed 1 minute early today. Missed it by 30 seconds. /// Classic. Sit on a delayed train at Waterloo for 20 minutes and then you decide to bypass three scheduled stops. Don't worry about getting people to their destination SWT, you just worry about your timetable (which you never stick to at rush hour). [Response: Sorry for the inconvenience caused, there was a door fault on the train.] Great reason not to stop at Surbiton, Walton and Weybridge then once it had been fixed. /// The best part of an hour to get from Norbiton to Raynes Park. Can we have a refund please? /// Made it about 7:30pm. I should have been home about 5:30pm. Not a happy bunny. Total delay today 3 hours! /// Our train stopped at every signal from Waterloo to Clapham, but not at Vauxhall where we actually want to go. Thanks geniuses. [Pathetic response: Apologies, some services are not calling at Vauxhall because of signalling problems.] /// What the hell is going on with the 18:07 Basingstoke-Exeter train? You're scaring me. Drive forward, stop, backward, stop, forward... [Response: It was directed towards Winchester in error. Had to go back in order to go via Andover. Sorry for the delay this caused.] /// Why did the 17.22 from Bournemouth go straight through New Milton? /// Making a 1.5 hour journey take three hours. Pay enough to get on the train. At least make the thing move, sitting at Basingstoke. /// Been kicked off that train due to electrical faults, now waiting for a second delayed train. /// Thanks SWT for taking me on a tour of the country instead of to my exam. /// Really SWT, is a train allowed to depart a whole minute earlier than scheduled?! /// Train is running late so it's not going to stop at Camberley and I have to wait for the next train, making me later still. /// It was the Waterloo to Bournemouth train. Only a slight delay today. But slight delays are a nightmare for people with connections. The 16:35... and don't worry, connection missed and so I get another 35 minutes of train travel. A little delay = a lot of pain. /// Train arrived at Teddington 5 minutes late but the connection couldn’t wait 30 seconds for the passengers who were running over. [Response: We can make special stop orders on some of these occasions, please tweet us in advance and we can try and hold a train.] Surely it shouldn’t take customers to make you do good customer services. It’s down to the company to ensure these things. /// Cancelled train + half hour wait till next possible one + hungry tired baby = cab. /// New Milton to Weymouth service. Driver was too fast and overshot the platform at New Milton. Can't open doors. /// 7.46 from Strawberry Hill left 2 minutes early today. // First 'door failure' for 15 minutes at Waterloo. Now the 'automatic brakes' for 10 minutes (and counting) outside Wimbledon. Wake up SWT! [Response: Because of the delay to the train you're on, it will now unfortunately run non-stop from Kingston back to Waterloo.] /// Thanks for leaving my mother stranded at Oxshott station for 2 hours. Lunch plans ruined.
The SWT machine didn't print my tickets properly for London tomorrow and they want me to spend £100 buying new ones - NOT HAPPY! /// No Oyster cards usable towards Waterloo from Surbiton till after 9:30? Have I missed something? Bemused looking customers all round! /// I sent a letter to you a while ago regarding a £30 charge for a £6.80 journey but I haven't heard anything back? /// Won't replace lost ticket, even though I had receipt showing I've paid for day's travel. Had to buy new. Really supportive. /// Warning to be vigilant when using Farnborough main station car park. SWT happily issuing parking fines unfairly. [Unsympathetic response: We have been advising customers of the parking situation at Farnborough.] Different when you ask if it's OK and the attendant issues your ticket 5 minutes later. Suggest you check complaints inbox. /// Why do SWT only grant a partial refund once they've made you an hour late when Virgin offer after 30 minutes late? Especially when SWT’s journeys are often shorter; so an hour is a FAR greater delay relative to journey. /// Ticket lost today... Stung for £32.10 back to Havant. Staff no help despite receipt. Complete rip-off and con!!
How about an apology for not supplying a bus, and a refund for the bus fare? /// How long do I wait for the 1:04 bus replacement to turn up before I claim the taxi back from you and price of my "return" ticket? /// Your 22.37 bus replacement was late from Hedge End so your 2248 to Fareham insisted it didn't exist at all, until it turned up. /// The coach pulled into the station with the previous service still in the station. The 14:34 service departed at 14:35 as we were crossing the footbridge to join it. Nobody thought to hold it briefly for us. /// It's great to know that the replacement bus waits for the delayed train to get in before leaving. Absolute joke. /// Rail replacement bus 20 minutes late = missed train, again. Clearly more buses needed! /// You can run regular trains but not regular replacement buses? Making us sit on cold bus for 25 minutes at Basingstoke is unacceptable… Turns out two buses are both leaving Basingstoke for Winchester at 12.44. Who's behind this plan? /// Replacement bus service on Sunday, what a joke. I was informed I was getting back on the train at Basingstoke, only to get on another bus which took forever. By the time I got back to Portsmouth I had to pay £28 in a taxi to get back to base!!!! /// Chop, chop at Ascot...You terminated the last train to Reading...where is bus?????????????? /// This bus is outside Fareham station. The driver was beeping at everyone and shouting/swearing out the window at people. I took pictures of him gesturing at people. /// Where is the rail replacement bus from Ash to Guildford? Help point said by Dover Arms pub which doesn’t appear to exist! [Response: The pub is by the roundabout.] There isn’t a pub by the roundabout, have you been? I asked a resident and he told me it’s no longer there! /// Bus replacement service was a nightmare. People bundling on with no organisation then no seat on the train. Around 8am from Bournemouth to Southampton Airport. Lucky a fight didn't break out with the scramble for the bus. /// At Bookham. Where the hell is the bus? /// Yet again your buses are non existent. The England match starts in an hour and a half. /// Went to the station and it said that a limited bus service was running...is it?! Nobody had a clue what was going on. /// Where are the buses at Alton, told you have only supplied one at your busiest commuter times, utter disgrace! /// Glad the train driver and conductor had a taxi waiting for them at Fareham. Been stood here for an hour now waiting for replacement. /// Double annoyance from SWT. Bus replacement. Bad enough but unavoidable. Filthy bus full of litter: unacceptable. /// Sunday service between Haslemere and Guildford. Coach contractors cleaning up and passengers poorly served. /// Guess what!! I'm at Southampton and we have just been advised by the 2 guys at the station that our bus replacement hasn't turned up and next bus 02.45. I'm fuming. I've just paid £23 for a cab from Southampton to Totton!! /// You can't even run a replacement bus on time! Going to miss all my connections. /// Instead of trying to get hundreds of taxis, why haven't you just hired a few buses to get people to Havant 50 at a time?? In an hour of queuing I've seen 1 minibus. There's 6 council taxis lined up just waiting. Why can't you use those? /// Well done on your choice of replacement bus operators getting lost, running late, and missing connecting trains. Late for work. /// Waited for over two hours for rail replacement buses today. Either didn't turn up/rude staff/no staff/no signs!! Paid £18 taxi! /// The bus was due to connect with the train at Southampton Airport Parkway, not Eastleigh. Why did the guard announce to get off at Eastleigh then? /// Appalling on the 8.18am Windsor-Ashford bus today. Driver didn't have a clue and ended up in Northolt (??) before we intervened. /// Not only SWT not running, but the bus replacement driver "didn't have a map", got lost resulting in the journey taking 1 hour! /// Where are replacement buses at Southampton? Going to miss flight at Southampton Airport. /// Complete shambles at Southampton waiting for coach to Bournemouth. Staff clearly giving different information. Even driver inept. /// Bus connection from Southampton means lots of people have missed their train - an hour to the next one. /// We were told we'd be taken to St Denys station, driver changed mind cos of traffic so ended up in Portswood! Sort it out!!! /// Absolutely no indication of where to get replacement bus at Barnes station. Would like to say I’m surprised but this is typical. /// Thank you SWT for making me wait 90 minutes for a rail replacement bus at Chiswick, I gave up. Not sure they even exist. /// Why have a rail replacement bus that gets to Southampton Airport (Parkway) 3 minutes after connecting train to Waterloo has left? /// I am absolutely disgusted with extremely poor service received today. Warning to everyone - find any other form of transport! Bus driver on rail replacement service told me to get another bus to get to Kingston. The 281 then refused to accept my ticket. /// Where's rail replacement bus from Barnes to Putney, Kew Bridge etc. ?? A lot of passengers stranded and waiting with no information. A lot of passengers have given up. Not sure what alternative they've taken. Some still waiting, waiting. /// Still no sign of staff on hand on town side of Southampton Central to help passengers this AM. Three of us missed 06.37 bus as a result. /// Just got off train at Twickenham for bus service to Shepperton as directed by driver, however, there's no bus here. /// Your bus is here but not leaving for 45 minutes. 3 customers now very late and angry. Can we get refunds? /// How can you justify inaccessible rail replacement buses? Also the fact it stunk and the ceiling was so low you hit your head? The bus looked like it was from about 1990, maybe even older. Couldn’t even walk normally because the roof was so low!!
Once again a big well done to SWT for the 14 inspectors at my suburban train station. All laughing and joking, what a waste of my money. I want to know why you feel the need to have such a ridiculous amount of inspectors at my small station. /// Tried to buy new couple’s railcard at Ashford Surrey; could not because ticket person did not know where items were to do it! /// The man in the ticket office was very rude and unhelpful when I was buying a travel card this morning. /// New STM Security people at Southampton Central who don’t understand the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, so just had to argue to get on station. [Response: Sorry to hear that. Can you tell us what happened, so I can pass it on to the station team?] It’s the age old “having a smartcard is not proof of having a ticket” and “I don’t have a reader - ergo you don’t have a ticket”. /// Please can you tell your guards that it is important to keep passengers updated about slow running trains. I'm really angry! I was on the 1802 to Woking from Waterloo. I hope the train guard gets disciplined! /// Where can I complain about staff in Clapham Junction station? /// Sunbury ticket office guy very rude. Refused to explain why oyster isn't valid. His job is to care for the customers, like me, who pay you thousands over the years, not point blank rudeness. /// What the hell is a "revenue blockade" supposed to be? Counter-productive doesn't do it justice. Really don't mind the ticket checks but there was nowhere near enough staff to do it for peak time, and they weren't being particular courteous or helpful about it. When I was already delayed at Clapham before, it was very frustrating. /// It really doesn't make for happy customers when your staff are rude too. /// The guard on the 17:35 from Waterloo to Weymouth has attitude - being all official and closing the internal doors at Parkway rather than Southampton for the train to divide - people in wrong carriages. Any reason? /// Whoever the barrier guard was at Waterloo on platform 9 at 18:53 today needs reporting - VERY unbelievably rude for no reason. I came through platform then asked if it was the right one and he ignored me for ages, then just walked away, then told me to read sign. But the sign wasn't lit - that was why I was asking - I asked 4 times and was ignored, then he dealt with someone else. You really don't need unhelpful people like that when you're in a rush and trying to get home on time. ///Just encountered the rudest employee at Southampton Central by the name of [name supplied]. I lost my purse yesterday; after enquiring about replacing my 16-25 railcard and receiving no help, she told me to shut up. Then as I walked away she called me a silly little girl. /// He was completely ignorant. All he had to say was 'No, wrong platform'. He let us wait 5 minutes, refusing to answer, so we missed train. /// I don't appreciate when your staff insult me and you really should invest in fully functional ticket machines. The cash ones are always faulty at this entrance of Clapham Junction. Whilst trying to renew my Travelcard, the machine returned the note but swallowed my coins. I filled out a lost money form.. I was treated like I'm stupid, told to check my balance. /// Thanks obnoxious SWT operative at Clapham Junction. The lady at the ticket gate refused to listen to my explanation and insisted my ticket wasn't valid and I couldn't travel. My ticket is valid and I'm nearly at my destination - I went to the other gate. /// Train conductor asking all passengers what time the train is due in? Shouldn't he know? /// I asked for bus information and when the line would reopen, she was very rude and dismissive, and pointed at a printed sign! /// You employ the rudest station staff at Hedge End! I don't know what the woman's problem is, she is plain rude and discourteous!! /// Seriously need to teach staff basic customer service. Rudeness I've received from guard on 2:09 Waterloo to Basingstoke is appalling! /// Can SWT explain why staff at Putney station refused to help a lady with baby and buggy down stairs claiming they were 'understaffed'? There were 5 staff on duty. I was the only other customer yet they refused help. Why is that? How do you feel about that? How busy would it have to be that you'd rather risk a lady fall down stairs with a baby?? [Second caller: This happened to me! Staff refused to help an elderly lady with her suitcase. Disgraceful! It took me 2 minutes.] /// You need to seriously rethink your customer service, station manager was rude and unhelpful, made sure I missed my train. Every available point to buy a ticket had a queue a mile long and the train was about to arrive. /// So where are they hiding at Clapham Junction? No-one on platform 10 when I arrived. Nor 9. No-one downstairs. The only person I've found to talk to is you! /// I appreciate each situation is different and that time does not always permit, but not one of your staff was what I would call helpful. /// Been told I'm not allowed to use my phone on your train by one of your staff! It was an Emergency call and he rudely interrupted! Think it was uncalled for. Appalling customer service. It was in the quiet zone but your member of staff caused more disturbance to your customers journey by causing such a scene about it! I put my phone away... I’ve been made an example of when I politely explained it was an Emergency. I couldn’t move to another carriage, the train was packed. /// Can't buy a ticket at the gate at Guildford - was advised to buy on the train but can't. …. I wasn't impressed with the guard's approach to customer service on the 08.46 departure from Guildford. Would expect some small level of understanding from your staff members.... But no. Rude as usual. /// A guy just properly punched another guy in the face on my commute in this morning on SWT. The train guards witnessed it and did nothing. It was the passengers that calmed it down and intervened. The 'attacker' still in carriage. Crazy! /// Many thanks to the least helpful woman on the planet who works for SWT in Richmond. /// Bit intimidating having 6 guards approach me for my ticket on the footbridge to cross platforms at Staines station.. Not acceptable or warranted. When I crossed that bridge I was alone. Harassment. /// Platform staff at Wimbledon spend a lot of time yelling at people but do nothing about bikes on trains. /// Are SWT Help Point employees trained in customer service? From personal experience they seem very insensitive. /// It's not often I would say this, but guard on 16:30 Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour needs a serious attitude adjustment! Impatient man! He just rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders at people who took no more than 10 seconds to produce a ticket. Very rude guy. /// I'd just like to complain about the grey balding assistant currently standing on platform 2 at Salisbury. He was very rude. /// Staff rudely kicking everyone off Hounslow train at Clapham Junction. Where does SWT hire these people! Shocking. /// Raynes Park this morning. The guy on the platform sees trains off then goes back into the cabin and close the shutter. /// Just had the rudest ticket man at Waterloo station. Was getting a return to Farnborough and forgot to show my railcard, and the man was just generally rude.
Not happy with this new car park at Farnborough Station. I slipped over earlier. There is no grip on the surface /// Trip hazard, on platform 1 side of the footbridge at Fleet. Loose non-skid strip on step riser./// Queue for the Wokingham ticket office was 14 deep and each ticket machine at least 12 deep. Not a great service after the refurbishment. 23 minutes to buy a ticket, the same amount of time it takes to get to Waterloo from Woking. [Unconcerned reply: We are aware of the problem, sorry for the delay.] /// I got a new ticket because my Putney to Vauxhall monthly season ticket didn't work at Queenstown Road. New one still doesn't. /// The bridge at Aldershot is covered in ice, could the station get some grit on it? /// Icy platforms and car park at Fleet Station. Grit?? /// Not great planning at Havant today. It's not clear how to get out of the station with workmen just staring back at you. /// Are you doing anything about the decaying plasterwork at Vauxhall? Looks shoddy and dangerous. /// Why is the Centre Court entrance to Wimbledon station always filthy? Litter everywhere. Not great way to start journey! /// Is this the level of safety one can expect with our fares? It's a huge security camera hanging by its cord! Earlsfield, platform 3. Every time there's a breeze it sways around, so not good at all. /// Andover station is disgraceful having only one pay meter and I had to park at the opposite end. Bad customer service. [Response: I'll forward your comments on to the team. We do have other methods of payment by phone using the Ringo service.] I've tried that before and it never recognises my number plate even when I text it over! All in all not great if you are rushing. /// A dangerous situation at Wimbledon, platform 5. Revenue protection check at top of stairs causing severe platform congestion. /// Thank you again for closing all the toilets at Fratton and making us wait here for half an hour because of your delays. [Response: I believe Fratton is unstaffed now, hence why toilets can't be open. Sorry for the inconvenience.] The sarcastic and very unhelpful woman in the information office implies otherwise. /// Toilets at Portsmouth Harbour often out of use and none on train. Very tough for travellers. /// Security staff waving their stick at people and shouting rudely to people, appalling service this morning. They’re saying we can't use the rear of the platform to London but this is ridiculous at Effingham where it's so busy! /// Why the parking disaster at Farnborough today? New car park not open, season ticket holders turned away. /// Just missed my train. Both ticket offices closed and appalling signage at Fleet Station. /// How on earth is this safe or count as a service? You urgently need more trains serving Putney. It's not a one off, this is every morning. It's dangerous and a terrible service. It's in desperate need of more trains. /// Today demonstrated to SWT how neither the security Wombles nor the new "safety" fence at Wimbledon improve safety. Cramming people into smaller spaces does not solve anything. /// Just missed train at Vauxhall 'cos entrance on South Lambeth Road wasn't open at 4:45pm. And then you put up signs saying 'don't run'... /// Please explain why at Earlsfield you have cordoned off the platform forcing us to walk on the side where the fast trains speed past? [Response: This is to allow works to improve the station. This is only a temporary measure.] To work to keep us 'safe' you force us to the dangerous side, by speeding trains .... How much do you pay idiots to come up with this? /// You do know there are no screens at Waterloo don't you? /// SWT lorry parked in disabled bay in Basingstoke. /// There are too many smokers using the platform at Southampton Central, often outside the manager's office and by the lifts. /// During planned engineering works you need staff at stations like Havant last Sunday. No one. /// Thanks for the poor information at Guildford. You have a no. of passengers for Farncombe on the fast to Haslemere as we were given wrong platform on tannoy. /// I just slipped in the new car park at Farnborough Main. Really dangerous when icy - will there be a health and safety inspection? /// Why are Fratton ticket offices closed, 10 minute queue at the machine and down the road .......... Staff aimlessly wandering around! /// Held up for over 30 minutes by staff at Clapham Junction because not one of your ticket machines work! Beyond furious! /// As Netley station was un-manned this morning the queue for automated ticket machine was so long I missed my train! Thanks for great service.
Can we please get the car park ticket machines at Woking fixed? /// The ticket machine at Hedge End isn’t accepting any cards. I have tickets booked to collect for travel now. What do I do? [Shocking reply: Unfortunately, you will need to purchase a new ticket at the earliest opportunity, and then contact us later for a refund.] Not even mentioned the fact your bus hasn’t bothered to turn up yet /// On the 8.20 from Hampton. Oyster machine out of order so unable to top up. Who do I talk to at Waterloo to get out? /// Can we get more ticket machines at Walton-on-Thames (or just ones that work)? This is ridiculous!! /// Ticket machine at Hilsea is not accepting credit / debit cards. Did this 3 weeks ago. /// Can't buy a ticket at station. Guard does not have a machine. Forty people will require tickets at Waterloo. Why do you not want to accept £27 off me today!? There will be congestion at the Waterloo barriers. [Response: We have had some recent issues with some ticket machines, we are aware and are trying to resolve quickly.] So will you have multiple ticket machines at Waterloo for this 8.21 from Godalming with ticketless souls on??? [Cloudcuckooland response: The inspectors at Waterloo will be aware of the issue and you can buy tickets from them easily.] Every person arguing with ticket sellers. This situation is UNACCEPTABLE for people trying to give you £30! … They've run out of receipt roll! You couldn't make this incompetence up! You are not even good enough to be called amateur! /// 10 minutes is no longer long enough to get a ticket from Camberley station, you need another ticket machine or staff at peak times. /// Ticket machine not working at Hilsea. Not allowing me to collect prepaid tickets. /// Why can't you get the ticket machine to work at Grateley….twice in a week. /// Both machines at Hersham only accepting cards, and office isn't open. Is it ever actually open anyway? Do you just want me to not pay? /// Ticket machine at Hilsea station not accepting any card payments. Fault has been intermittent since December. Please fix. Rejects at point of payment: "card not recognised". Have 3 credit card and 1 debit. All rejected when fault occurs. /// PLEASE do something about the ticket machines at Farncombe. 3-4 minutes to process a transaction is unacceptable. /// You need at least 5 more ticket machines at Walton-on-Thames, on the London-bound side. /// Clapham Junction. Busiest station in Europe. Only ever 2 out of 6 ticket machines working!!!!!!? Sort it out. /// Two broken machines at Putney this morning. /// The self-service ticket pickup machine has been broken since Monday at Clapham Junction, Grant Road exit - causes big queues. /// Your machine charged me 3 times for 1 Oyster top-up at Kingston station! Tried to call you, your lines are always busy! /// I don't have an oyster and ticket machine not working at Brentford. Person on train doesn't sell tickets! /// When will you finally sort out Walton-on-Thames train station ticket machines? They are a joke! Missed 2 trains already!! Station access is too restricted for volume of passengers, ticket hall is a shambles. [Second caller: Completely agree. The access and layout are diabolical. Tell Shoveller to visit at 7.30 on a Monday morning, buy a ticket and try to catch the 7.57 or the 8.06! /// Explain why self service ticket machines are getting so slow? Ascot. Nearly 3 minutes to complete a ticket purchase is rubbish. Both machines have been getting progressively slower. Quicker to use the counter if it's free. [Useless response: I've checked, and our centralised ticket system is being slowed due to the number of transactions at present.] /// Cannot top up or renew oyster travelcards on either ticket machine at Hampton Court. Can this be resolved ASAP please? /// Clapham Junction a nightmare this morning. One ticket machine working and none of the departure boards on. Unhelpful and moody staff. To buy a travel card for the week seems to take over 5 minutes-but it so slow compared to other retailers authorisation! /// Once again your ticket machines have gone into meltdown - taking between 3-5mins to process a single transaction. /// Who can I contact about problem with self service ticket machine card charged but no ticket, no answer at customer support number. /// West Byfleet self-machine charged me twice today. /// Ticket machine wouldn't take Scottish notes and I missed my train.
Every one I have caught at a weekend is now 4 coach service, not 8 as it used to be. WHY? /// Your 1804 service from Portsmouth & Southsea to Waterloo, toilet in 2nd coach from front is heavily soiled & unusable, disgusting. /// I am stuck in a toilet on a train and the flusher has expelled faecal matter all over me! /// One working toilet on the 11.35am to Winchester from Waterloo...yet still costly for this level of service. /// Only 3 carriages on the 08.20 London to Exeter train this morning!! What a joke!! /// 1420 train Weymouth to London has disgusting loos. Weymouth station loos all closed as well. /// 8.22 from Epsom to Waterloo. Old train = no heating! Really cold morning, ridiculous that your staff do not turn the heating on! It's freezing outside and windows won't stay shut on an hour long train! Thoroughly unpleasant. /// The lights aren't on in the carriage I'm in (08:31 to Waterloo). Is this a new cost-cutting measure? /// I am so angry. The doors didn't open at my stop, not only was it delayed but I had to go all the way to the last stop. /// Not helpful when the toilets 'out of use' and the other one is down the other end of the train, nearly threw up on myself. /// Carriage 71541 on the 0822 Epsom-Waterloo - broken window locks mean windows don't shut and speakers intermittent so can't hear the guard. /// Nice to see carriage 67169 is just about to flood the carpets with urine. Thought you had solved these problems. /// The 18:16 from Egham to Reading is having difficulty with spelling on its electrical sign, e.g. Bracknell was spelt Brackn 11B. /// Why take off carriages at Salisbury when the train is absolutely packed? /// The beggar announcement on SWT is awful. The way it is worded makes them sound non-human like vermin. Needs to be changed /// Your service is a disgrace! How can you have a train full of hundreds of people with no toilets? /// Unacceptable to have to stand from London to Southampton. No wonder I normally drive. Refund? /// Tonight you have reduced the busiest two trains to 4 carriages on the Chessington line - it is sardines already on this service! /// It's a lovely morning, the sun is out. So why were your heaters roasting us all on your 0835 service from Norbiton today? /// Is there any way to get heating on 08:09 Chessington South service turned off? /// Great having to sit on a train floor to get to Winchester. /// My friend is having to exercise monk-like bladder control. Functioning toilets on SWT trains are like hens’ teeth... /// More early trains from Winchester desperately needed. Standing room only on the 6.18? /// Thanks SWT for waking me up to check my ticket every hour. One ticket check per journey not enough?! 06:11 Poole to Waterloo. /// Can’t actually believe the conditions on SWT, so hot and squashed and no air conditioning. /// If I buy a first class ticket and cannot even get in first class due to ridiculous overcrowding, can I get my money back? /// 4 coaches again on 05:37 Guildford via Cobham.. Information turned off on train. No Guard. No Apologies.. Really. Customer Service?? /// The train leaving Salisbury for Exeter now is a joke. Only 3 carriages and we're squashed like sardines. /// Why should I have to sit on this? Clean your rolling stock. /// No working toilets on the 22:35 Waterloo-Southampton. /// 9:35am from Waterloo to Weymouth. Whole train pretty disgusting. I do love a bit of e-coli with my morning coffee. /// I wish I could tweet a smell, but your 18:20 Waterloo to Reading toilets are awful, one person gagged and was sick, same always. /// It's hard to gather your thoughts when THERE ARE NO FUNCTIONAL TOILETS ON THE 16:20 Waterloo-Reading. /// On the 2023 from Ascot to Guildford and no working toilets. Why do I bother paying for your service when you don’t really bother? /// Yet again no toilet availability on the Reading-Waterloo line. Guard says they don’t bother emptying them. At least he is honest. /// Train should not be in service. You simply can't charge customers £66 to spend 140 minutes on a train with no toilets. /// More people somehow squashed in at Vauxhall and I'm now pretty much standing in a smelly bin. Thought you'd want to know. /// The 19.20 to Hersham is only 4 cars again. Why is every late train 4 cars? The overcrowding is horrendous again. /// You might want to secure the ramp in the cupboard on the 18:02 Waterloo - Woking - it's banging around and freaking people out! /// The standard seats on SWT trains don't have room for standard human beings. /// Thanks for the overcrowded service this morning. Passengers passing out is a new low! /// 21.39 Waterloo-Guildford cancelled because you can't close a door. Time to invest in newer trains on this section of network. /// Locked panel containing electrical equipment left open in carriage. Thanks SWT, this inspires confidence. /// It’s tropical on the 2250 out of Waterloo! Save us all some money on our fares and turn the heating down! Please. /// Booked 1st class on SWT as a treat for friend's hen party. Shame there's nowhere for us to sit! /// SWT left has us stopped in tunnel, crammed packed, boiling, over 30 minutes and counting now! /// Do you think it's acceptable to have no working toilets on your train? /// Cancelled trains, peak time return to Portsmouth, 4 carriages, no seats, no working toilets, opinion? Priceless?? I am still on my journey as are the many, many others standing. /// Very uncomfortable SWT train ride for me. Both toilets out of order. Look like they've been blocked for a while. /// 4 coaches instead of 8 again on 8:11 from Kew Bridge to Waterloo. Any reason? [Response: This was due to a train fault this morning. A leaky cab. /// I am travelling from Waterloo to Bournemouth on a 10-coach train. 12 people on the floor between each carriage. /// Just got on the 18.05 Waterloo - Southampton. Do you clean your trains? Absolutely rank mess and smells gross - a bit like cat sick. /// Please de-regulate 1st class on rush hour trains. Plenty of empty seats there while us plebs jam the cattle class aisles. [Politically incorrect response: We do have first class customers on our routes including at rush hour, so need to have the facility available.] /// Half the train missing; packed with standing passengers, so can't get on. Really poor service. /// The doors on your train didn't open at my stop. No warning at all from the guard. Any chance of a refund for this joke service? /// Congratulations on having all 4 toilets out of order on the 2012 Reading to Waterloo service. /// Sat in a walkway partition in a packed train full of people for almost 2 hours when I paid £47 for a ticket. Health and safety? /// Please turn the heating off on your trains... It's way too warm!! /// Please sort overcrowding, 2 people just collapsed in my carriage Not helped by extreme heat and long wait outside Waterloo station.
More serious safety failures on Stagecoach buses
Stagecoach bus fires have become a feature of public transport in recent times. Assuming our records are complete, there were 5 incidents in 2009; 9 in 2011; 11 in 2012; and 10 in 2013. These figures exclude arson and overseas fires. The majority of fires occur when passengers are on board, and there are some horrific internet video clips of the conflagrations.
Stagecoach’s response to every incident is that safety is their absolute priority. However, fires have not been the only problem. Sanctions were imposed after a number of buses shed wheels in Scotland, a bus drove on after wrecking a shelter in Cheltenham, and a great grand-mother had to have a foot amputated after a bus ran over it as she boarded because the driver had not applied the handbrake. Another bus ignored a level crossing barrier on the Taunton-Exeter line seconds before a high speed train passed, and yet another demolished level crossing gates in Canterbury, causing major disruption to South Eastern train services. Latest incidents:
Blaze drama at Chester Bus Station [The Leader 13/2/2014]
“Fire crews were called to an unoccupied bus which was on fire in Chester Bus Station yesterday. Two fire engines from Chester attended the blaze on Princess Street at 10.11am which was on the number 53 Stagecoach bus to Kingsway.
Councillor Sam Dixon, who walked past the incident on her way to a meeting in the city centre, said the emergency services quickly had the situation under control. She said: “There was an awful lot of smoke but the emergency services managed it very well.”
Firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus, tackled the blaze and used a high pressure fan to clear smoke from the bus. Police were in attendance controlling the traffic.”
Stagecoach bus bursts into flames in Lincolnshire village [Lincolnshire Echo 27/2/2014]
“A Stagecoach bus burst into flames this morning in Welton Village Green. The incident was reported to the fire service at 6.45am. Fire crews arrived and were able to put out the blaze. The bus was stationary at the time and no one was hurt. A mechanical fault is believed to be the reason for the fire.
A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “At around 6.30am today smoke was detected from the rear of one of our vehicles as it arrived in Welton. As a result the Fire Service was called. There were two passengers on board who were safely escorted off the vehicle. Safety is our absolute priority and we will now investigate the cause of this incident.” ”
Bus bursts into flames near Scotswood Road in Newcastle [Evening Chronicle (Newcastle) 5/3/2014]
‘Passengers were evacuated from a bus after it burst into flames in Newcastle. The Stagecoach single decker was travelling along William Armstrong Drive, off Scotswood Road, when the blaze started. Firefighters from West Denton station attended the scene at lunchtime today. Traffic was diverted while thick black smoke bellowed from the vehicle and drifted across the road. One witness said: “I was driving past and saw the fire brigade putting out the flames. It looked as though the engine was on fire as it was covered in black soot. The fire brigade had everything under control.”’
Crossrail to be extended to Reading
Passengers from South Hampshire will be able to change at Reading for twice-hourly Crossrail services, which will be stopping trains with high-density coaches.
First Great Western franchise
The Government is minded to negotiate an extension of the current First Great Western franchise until 2020. This is reportedly linked to the complexity of the extensive infrastructure improvements.
May 2014 timetable
It appears from a cursory exploration of the National Rail journey planner that there will be no significant changes to southern Hampshire services from the start of the new timetable on 18 May. As usual, the 17.45 Bournemouth-Manchester train will divert to Leeds on Saturdays during the summer holiday season, starting on 24/5/2014.
It seems that vital improvements on SWT are ruled out under Stagecoach. An extreme example of their often appalling schedules are the morning peak departures at 07.35, 07.38 and 08.35 from Southampton Central to Eastleigh. In BR days, Southampton-Eastleigh was reckoned to have one of the heaviest local passenger flows, outside the London suburban area, on the Southern Region.
High rate of lift failures at SWT stations continues
Lift failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated), a major problem for disabled people, have recently occurred at Aldershot, Bracknell, Brentford, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Fareham, Fratton, Haslemere, Havant, Kingston, Richmond, Southampton Airport, Southampton Central, Surbiton, Vauxhall, Weybridge, Wimbledon, Wokingham.
Big delays in introducing longer SWT trains
Extension of SWT’s class 458 Waterloo-Reading line units, from 4 coaches to 5 with reduced overall seating, has been delayed by some 9 months because of the poor state, particularly through corrosion, of the carriages involved. The first additional carriage was found to have 280 faults.
Shoddy information on SWT – a thin end of the wedge at Lymington
Major engineering work on 9th March meant that passengers arriving at Lymington Pier from the Isle of Wight faced major disruption if they were travelling beyond Brockenhurst. Posters advertised engineering works for the 15/16th February, and the full engineering work timetable for 2nd February, but nothing for 9th March.
A ‘Two Together’ railcard was introduced from March 3rd, costing £30 a year. It gives a 34% reduction on Anytime, Off-peak, Advance and some Rover ticket fares for any two named people travelling together. It is not available before 09.30 on Mondays to Fridays. Photos are required. These conditions are quite restrictive, and the railcard is likely to appeal mainly to friends or couples who travel together without children. Given the existing complexities of fares, and the overlaps between the various existing railcards, a single, universal railcard would seem a much preferable option.
Hampshire County Council Bus Consultation
HCC is running a consultation (closing on 31/5/2014) arising from the need to reduce bus subsidies. See www.hants.gov.uk/transportconsultation2014
Hythe public transport
Since the decision not to pursue reinstatement of passenger train services between Southampton and Hythe via Totton, principally because alternative bus and ferry services are available, all Friday and Saturday night buses in the area have been withdrawn. One Monday-Friday evening peak service has been cut, and no Sunday services run beyond Fawley to Calshot. The future of the ferry service is reportedly in jeopardy, and continuation of the free bus link between Southampton’s ferry terminal and the city centre and rail station is under review. Press reports seem to indicate that SWT no longer contributes to the costs of the latter, although it must deliver them many passengers. Southampton now has worse air pollution than Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield or Leeds [Daily Echo 2.4.2014].
Publicly owned buses score highly
Edinburgh’s publicly-owned Lothian buses have scored significantly higher markings than Glasgow’s First Group services. Alistair Watson, former chairman of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and now head of roads at the city council, accused the SNP of putting its relationship with Stagecoach owner Brian Souter [their biggest donor] ahead of a new system. He said: "De-regulation of the bus industry has failed. The current system is a Thatcherite relic and the party in power at Holyrood understood that fact right up until the day they cashed Brian Souter's first cheque." [Herald 28.3.2014]
105 jobs at risk at ‘Gloag airport’
Consultation has started on closure of Manston Airport in Kent, which was bought by Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag for £1 last year. The airport is apparently losing £10,000 a day since its sale. 105 jobs are at risk. [Herald, 20/3/2014]
Stagecoach threatening legal action against Welsh Assembly Government
Stagecoach is threatening legal action against the Welsh government if it reduces its budget for concessionary bus travel. It is also threatening to cut services. [Herald 20/3/2014]
Acknowledgements / Contact details
As always, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to contact us. Without your support and input, this newsletter would not be possible. The newsletter is produced in good faith, based on reports and information from many individuals and sources including information identified from press and website research. Contributions are always welcome. We aim for accuracy at all times, because our good reputation depends on it. We do not use material which could be offensive or which appears unlikely to be correct.
Address for correspondence: Denis Fryer, 19 Fontwell Close, Calmore, Southampton, SO40 2TN (firstname.lastname@example.org").