HOGRIDER 143 (APRIL-JUNE 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 snapshot data of SWT’s massive performance failures, including phenomenal numbers of scheduled stops axed.
In addition, see our website for a widely-sourced 15,000 word history of SWT which records the views of Ministers, MPs, regulatory bodies, rail experts, user groups and individual passengers.
SWT ‘unreliability’: cancelled trains the tip of a substantial iceberg:
Capacity much reduced by short formations;
Stops routinely missed, with or without prior notice, often just to improve statistics
SWT’s poor Portsmouth services highlighted
SWT’s Southampton mainline services rated 2nd-worst in Britain
Great Western Specification Consultation: SHRUG response to DfT
Cause for relief as Go-Via keeps Southern with ‘quality’ bid;
Company is now the principal London commuter train operator;
Main partner, Go-Ahead, ranked most trustworthy company
Still the ‘Cowboy Country’; Stagecoach threatens £50 penalty fares
Whither the Wessex Electrics?
Ticket vending problems on SWT (April-June)
Despair on SWT: Twitter exposes a franchise devoid of quality
Scottish independence; Does Stagecoach want to have its shortbread and eat it too?
Manston Airport – embarrassment over Mrs Gloag’s business hats
Numbers of serious safety failures on Stagecoach buses soar
SWT ‘unreliability’: cancelled trains the tip of a substantial iceberg
* Capacity much reduced by short formations
* Stops routinely missed, with or without prior notice, often just to improve statistics
The spring and early summer have seen almost ideal weather for train operation on SWT. Stagecoach has been meeting all its performance targets after a gap of many months. The reliability (trains actually operated) scorings, at consistently over 99%, look impressive.
Beneath the surface is another story. In our samples of SWT live running data (as recorded in Part 2 of this newsletter, on www.shrug.info) cancelled services are reducing each month as a proportion of total unreliability, which comprises:
* cancelled services;
* equivalent cancellations from short formations (for example, two half-length trains treated as equivalent to one cancelled service); and
* partly-cancelled services (trains which start or terminate at an intermediate point on their scheduled journey; are diverted past booked stops; or run non-stop past booked stops).
The following sample data are by no means complete and, in addition, omit the big disruptions which can arise from pre-booked engineering work. However, the large samples mean that the proportionality between cancellations, equivalent cancellations and partly-cancelled services should be broadly accurate. Cancellations are about 31% of the total in April; 24% in May; and 19% in June.
Cancelled services in samples: 277
Equivalent cancellations (sum of fractions by which train lengths reduced) in samples: 175
Partly-cancelled services in samples: 428
Cancelled services in samples: 210
Equivalent cancellations (sum of fractions by which train lengths reduced) in samples: 134
Partly-cancelled services in samples: 521
Cancelled services in samples: 165
Equivalent cancellations (sum of missing fractions of train carriages) in samples: 191
Partly-cancelled services in samples: 560
Short formations in many cases arise where SWT splits one train in order to provide stock to replace another which has failed.
Some partly-cancelled services may be dictated by operational considerations. For example, if SWT blocks the Richmond line with a defective train, services may be diverted via Hounslow missing booked stops.
Many stops are omitted simply to get late trains into position for a punctual run on their next working and improve punctuality statistics. SWT does not undertake to give advance notice of the changes to passengers already on board, but generously allows them to travel back, greatly delayed, to their intended destinations at no extra charge. Unsurprisingly, satisfaction with the way SWT deals with delays is just 35% in the Spring 2014 National Passenger Survey, down 14% over 18 months.
A few dialogues from Twitter on what passengers think of being carried past their stops:
On 18:02 service from Waterloo to Cobham. Moments after going through Surbiton, we're told train fast to Guildford, so who at SWT shall I send my taxi receipt to? Not to mention all the other people stuck miles from home? Second caller: My wife is on her way non-stop to Guildford as a result! How is she meant to get back to Claygate? [Reply: Trains are on the move, her ticket will be valid to get a train back from Guildford to Claygate.] Third caller: I hear SWT ran the 1803 from Waterloo to Guildford via Cobham fast from Surbiton without telling passengers. That's illegal. False imprisonment. If it were me I would've pulled the alarm and forced the issue. Alas I am not on that service. Fourth caller: 30 seconds out of station and instead of Claygate I'm going to Guildford! And why not stop at any of the stops on the way?!! Total journey from Waterloo to Esher was 1 hour 50 minutes, plus had to get a cab from Esher to Claygate. How do I claim compensation? /// On 7:55 from Ewell West. Guard making some announcement that can't be heard - sounded like train running fast or stopping Vauxhall. [Response: Yes that's correct, it's running fast from Motspur Park because of the congestion between Raynes Park and Waterloo.] This is ridiculous! Now I'm stuck on a train that I can't even get off! Because of your speakers! Absolute joke. Well, sorry, really isn't good enough. Now I'm going to be late for work! So cheers for that. /// We passed Clapham Junction and did not stop. Clapham was empty, we slowed down, then sped up. Surely we could have stopped... Stopping at Waterloo only. So I have to get a train back again. But the signs said it was calling at Clapham!!!!! [Unconcerned response: This has changed just recently. Very sorry. Please change at Waterloo.] Yes, I am aware I need to change at Waterloo. But that doesn’t stop this journey taking an hour longer than it should, does it? [Unconvincing apology: Unfortunately not and we are very sorry for the delays you have experienced today.] And why exactly is it not stopping at Vauxhall? Again I could get to Victoria to get to where I want to be. [Unhelpful response: Your ticket would be valid on London Underground service to Victoria. We have ticket acceptance in place.] How helpful, except I said why is this train NOT stopping at Vauxhall! I know how the Underground works. Re-read my tweet! [Irritating response: You are able to get to Victoria from Waterloo on the Underground.] Yes, if I want the journey to take another hour. Your response is completely unhelpful and didn’t answer my question. Now I got off the train at Waterloo to be told to get back on it. Beyond ridiculous. If this skips Clapham Junction I am going to scream. What are the details to make a complaint? And what is your manager’s name? [Devious reply: We can't provide you with that information I'm afraid. However, your complaint will go through to the relevant department.] I have never been so messed around in my life. Thanks for ruining my day off SWT. /// I was supposed to get off at Wimbledon but now coming into Waterloo! Great! Sure my boss will understand! NOT. /// My wife's train didn’t stop at Vauxhall. No announcement. She had to touch out at Waterloo and pay zone 1-2, where can she get refund? /// Interesting new approach this afternoon. Running late so drove straight through Kingston. No announcement, no apology. Shocking. [Response: Sorry, this was due to signalling problems at Fulwell. It was run non-stop so its next working would be on time.] So you'd hit your targets you mean. You must have also known that the one behind was only 4 carriages. You are missing stations out to help fix your figures. Nothing to do with getting people to work. You don't give a toss. /// Some very annoyed passengers on train from Brentford thanks to no announcement re not stopping at Queenstown Road and Vauxhall! /// 16:50 from Richmond decides only going Barnes-Waterloo, missing all stops. No explanation. Chaos at Barnes. Information screens wrong. [Pathetic reason given in response: Sorry about this. It appears the information screens weren't updated in time, we'll look into this.] /// Please can you make sure announcements on trains and signs at stations are clear! Train now direct to Waterloo with little notice! 20.44 from Hampton Wick (delayed). Boards didn't say it was direct after Kingston. Only barely audible mumble from guard on train! /// Rubbish. No announcement on the train. Didn't stop at my stop so you've cost me more money in cab fares !! /// Train I just got on at Twickenham decided not to stop at Richmond...any idea why? [Unconcerned response: The train service didn't stop at some stations to reduce further delays.] Why didn't it stop at Richmond though? That's what caused the disruption to my journey. “All in a day's work. **** our paying passengers, we've got quotas to meet you know!” /// What the hell.. No warning and train travelling through Clapham Junction without stopping for people to get off... I need a refund. Shocking service! /// The train I'm meant to have taken now isn't stopping at Wimbledon?! Where am I meant to get off?! /// I do love having to go past my station to a completely different one in order to get back... Thanks SWT. /// No board change, no public announcement, zero information, what a joke you are. [Response: Alterations are made last minute, as it's not always possible to send the message to staff as fast as possible. Sorry for this.] If you can't get the message to the staff then don't change the service. I'm now in Waterloo when I need to be in Wimbledon for 7 o’ clock.
SWT’s poor Portsmouth services highlighted
The following is from ‘The News’ (Portsmouth) 06.05.2014. The quoted 90-minute journey time from Portsmouth to Waterloo is a rounded-down figure, and journeys from the Harbour station for passengers from Gosport and the Isle of Wight take even longer.
Political failure to address Portsmouth’s longstanding dissatisfaction with SWT may be one of various issues behind the city’s comparatively large defection to UKIP in the recent local elections. People read of the brave new world of HS2 (the proposed high-speed line to the North) and IEP (the new generation of inter-city trains on order) while Portsmouth’s commuters are crammed into outer-suburban trains with less standing space allotted than the EU prescribes for cattle.
“MPs and business leaders call for better rail links between Portsmouth and London
We need better rail links and we need them now. That’s the call from politicians and business leaders who say this area is losing out because of the time it takes to get to and from the capital. They say improved links would help with the regeneration of the region after the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs in the shipbuilding industry. At the moment it takes 90 minutes to get from Portsmouth to London by train. That is much slower than many places much further away.
Portsmouth - London (75 miles) 1hr 30min
Southampton - London (81 miles) 1hr 20min
Chippenham - London (97.8 miles) 1hr 8min
Solihull - London (110 miles) 1hr 27min
Crewe - London (168 miles) Ihr 30min
Kettering - London (79 miles) 1hr 1min
Now Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has written to the head of Network Rail David Higgins to ask why journey times cannot be slashed. ‘It is often assumed that geographical proximity to the capital means fast connections, yet it takes longer to get from London to Portsmouth on the fast train than it does to get from London to Doncaster - a distance that is more than twice as far,’ she said.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has also put forward the idea of an express train to link Portsmouth to the capital without stopping in the suburbs. She said: ‘Our best chance of getting an improved service is to have more stringent franchise rules in 2016 when the area’s lines come up. ‘It takes one-and-a-half hours to get to London. ‘What they have done is move towards the 450 carriages to combat overcrowding. ‘Surveys show it does not help, and they use them at weekends when there is not an overcrowding problem.’
The call for a better service comes only weeks after a report singled out the current rail infrastructure as ‘acting as a severe brake on economic growth’. Commissioned by the Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon and prepared by Rear-Admiral Rob Stevens, ‘Transforming Solent’ names rail connectivity as a top priority.
Maureen Frost, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s deputy chief executive is backing the call. She said: ‘Obviously transport infrastructure is vitally important to our members and it is a big part of how businesses decide whether to locate somewhere and if they can attract the right staff to that location. ‘If there could be a new service that could go straight from London only stopping at Guildford, that would help bring more businesses into the area.’
Philip Holmes, associate at Vail Williams commercial property company in Portsmouth, said businesses may be more willing to invest in the city if better services were available. ‘London-based occupiers may see Portsmouth as a viable place to capitalise on the lower rents, the skill base, the lifestyle and the opportunity to take the quality, unbuilt, office in space in the city.’
A spokeswoman for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: ‘The reality of services on the Portsmouth line is that we face practical capacity constraints due to the high volume of services which already operate. ‘Converting stopping services to express trains would result in significantly poorer services for passengers travelling from other stations on the Portsmouth route, including Guildford and Haslemere.’
Not value for money, say customers
Overcrowding and uncomfortable journeys also add to the list of complaints rail users and business leaders have about the service connecting the Portsmouth area to the capital. According to PassengerFocus’s latest research of rail passengers, those using the Portsmouth to London Waterloo line are among the least satisfied in the country in terms of value for money. Only 29 per cent said they were happy with the service they got for the money paid. The season before found 23 per cent were satisfied. Just one other line fared worse in the survey. Results in the same PassengerFocus survey show 59 per cent of passengers using Virgin Trains’ London to Manchester service, which stops at Crewe, felt they got value for money.
Denis Fryer of South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group says passengers using the London Waterloo to Portsmouth route ‘often travel in miserable conditions in hard, narrow, cramped seats’ because of the carriages chosen to serve the route. There are plenty of trains in the Solent area, but the overall service is far from ideal,’ he said. ‘Southampton to Portsmouth is probably the worst inter-urban service in the south east.’ ”
SWT’s Southampton mainline services rated 2nd-worst in Britain
>From MD Tim Shoveller’s gushing comments on SWT’s website, you might think that SWT’s scores in the latest National Passenger Survey are a great success story, but this ignores the reality. The Spring 2014 statistics from Passenger Focus show SWT’s overall satisfaction rate as 79%. SWT’s website shows its passengers making 208.8m journeys a year.
On that basis, someone is dissatisfied with their journey on SWT well over 44m times a year, or over 120,000 times a day. Also, participants in the survey are asked to rate only the journey they have just made. The 79% score means that regular commuters are likely to have two unsatisfactory journeys a week, or possibly ninety in a year.
>From the outset, the privatised railways treated passengers as ‘customers’, and what customers want in any sphere of trading is value for money. The latest NPS data for Spring 2014 show that, of 79 service groups, SWT’s mainline services through Southampton are rated joint-74th best with 33% satisfaction. Among mainline services, only Greater Anglia is worse, at 29%.
Normally passengers are most satisfied with longer-distance trains. Conversely, it may be the case that the further people travel on SWT’s hard-seated Desiros, the less satisfied they become. Even bus seats normally have better cushioning. In addition, SWT’s mainline timetabling is in many cases abominable, as at Totton (the fourth largest town between Southampton and Weymouth) where the standard service has been reduced by 60%. At Eastleigh, passengers now have to get to Southampton Airport Parkway for a fast train at most times. And, although the towns of New Milton and Christchurch still have semi-fast London trains, these frequently sail past to boost SWT’s performance statistics.
Apart from the heritage Island Line, SWT’s top score for value is 39%. Yet ‘SWT services not managed by SWT’ score 53%. Doesn’t this strongly suggest that a step-change in quality could be achieved by removing Stagecoach from the franchise?
It is often said that the bus-bodied Pacer trains are the nadir of comfort. Yet Welsh Valleys services and Lancashire and Cumbria services, where these are common, score 52% and 60% respectively. Twitter records suggest that passengers hate the whole Stagecoach environment of uncomfortable and often dirty trains; late and unreliable services, stops axed without notice; poor value for money; bad customer service; too many abusive members of staff; spiteful revenue protection; and unreliable ticketing facilities.
To exacerbate matters further, SWT demonstrates total inflexibility, even when passengers make a perfectly reasonable nil-cost request. Question on Twitter: “I have Advance tickets for Poole to Waterloo tomorrow. Instead of getting the replacement bus to Bournemouth, can I just get the train from Bournemouth?” Reply: “I'm afraid not, you'll need to start from Poole.”
Great Western Specification Consultation: SHRUG response to DfT
1. Our Group is an informal organisation founded by a number of South Hampshire-Waterloo commuters and other interested individuals over 20 years ago. Anyone is welcome to participate, and we can be contacted via links on our own website, Hampshire County Council’s e-volve website, and the websites of organisations such as the Campaign for Better Transport and Railfuture.
2. Since Great Western is not the major rail operator in the South Hampshire area, the following comments mainly concern the operator’s services to the South Coast via Salisbury. These comments have been gathered from an e’mail trawl of people with a known interest in the services.
3. We are copying this response to PassengerFocus and Hampshire County Council. We are grateful for the opportunity to respond to the consultation and hope our comments are helpful.
The service specification
4. Chapter 7 of your consultation invites proposals for changes to current service patterns. In the case of Great Western services via Salisbury, we consider that the principal issues are capacity, frequency and connectivity.
5. The rationale for improvements is longstanding. The Strategic Rail Authority’s ‘Strategic Plan’ for the former Wessex Trains franchise sought to improve capacity with a “half-hourly service, every day” between Bristol Temple Meads and Portsmouth Harbour, with an expected completion date of 2005-2006. To improve operational flexibility for Wessex Trains, the Plan also proposed bringing the west bay at Southampton Central into passenger train use by 2004-2005.
6. More recently, DfT proposed a fleet of new 4-car trains for the Cardiff Central-Portsmouth Harbour service, but this proposal was similarly abortive. This year, the ‘Minister for Portsmouth’ has looked at means of boosting the economy of the Solent area, and has identified improved transport connectivity, and in particular improved rail services between Portsmouth and Southampton (a leg of the Portsmouth-Cardiff route), as a principal aspiration.
7. The Cardiff-Portsmouth trains are a major, long-established, regional service which has seen considerable traffic growth. The service level has already increased by over 200% compared with the typical level of fifty years ago. There is a noticeable mix of users (students, commuters, business travellers, leisure trippers/tourists and military personnel). With a town or city about every 13 miles on average, these trains load well throughout their journey. Any cancellation therefore has a very adverse effect for passengers.
8. Even with normal working, on the busiest evenings overcrowding means, for example, that it can be impossible to board a Portsmouth-bound service at Bath Spa, creating an hour’s delay for the passengers left behind. At the southern end of the route, overcrowding can occur because these trains provide the only fast services between Southampton and Portsmouth; connections at Salisbury for Exeter; and, for Portsmouth passengers, connections at Southampton for Manchester and Bournemouth/Weymouth.
9. Factors such as population increase, greater mobility, and MoD plans to station more service personnel on Salisbury Plain look certain to fuel demand even more.
10. Significantly, the biggest populations served are towards either end of the route (Portsmouth and Southampton at one end, and Bath, Bristol, Newport and Cardiff at the other). This ensures a significant demand for longer-distant travel. We hope that current electrification projects will not lead to any reduction in the level of end-to-end working.
11. As diesel units are released from electrified routes, we consider that the route between Cardiff and the South Coast merits high priority for extra capacity. Any additional carriages need to be of adequate quality. Even the existing stock is very cramped for such a busy, long-distance service.
12. A twice-hourly service throughout between Cardiff and South Hampshire appears problematic in the context of the current timetable. The SRA’s aspiration for this service level on the Bristol-Portsmouth leg of the route should be easier to achieve, but might require tweaks such as looping Southern’s hourly Brighton services clockwise through Southampton, Southampton Airport and Eastleigh as already occurs once a day (this would usefully realise Southern’s aspiration of regularly serving the airport).
13. A particular issue is that there are only two services from Portsmouth to Cardiff on Sunday mornings, while other operators’ trains in South Hampshire run at least hourly. An earlier start, along with plugging of a two-hour gap, seems highly desirable.
14. The substantial level of demand for travel along the South Coast is poorly reflected in the rail network. The gap in the main routes, between Weymouth and Exeter, complicates travel and is likely to make road the preferred choice for many journeys, with loss of rail revenue.
15. For at least 50 years, up to 2007, there were some direct train services between Portsmouth and/or Brighton and the West Country (via the Salisbury-Exeter route) which circumnavigated the gap.
16. In addition, for a number of years Wessex Trains ran a very busy daily service from Penzance to Portsmouth and back, which generally attached to/from Cardiff trains between Westbury and Portsmouth. A First Great Western senior manager acknowledged at a stakeholder conference that they had had no wish to discontinue this service, which they saw as commercially attractive. It was simply omitted from the franchise specification in favour of additional Penzance-Paddington trains.
17. These service losses mean, for example, that a journey from Bournemouth to Plymouth typically requires changing trains at Southampton Central, Salisbury and Exeter St. David’s. The alternatives, with fewer changes, are: changing at Reading (extremely circuitous); changing at Southampton Central and Bristol Temple Meads (quite circuitous); and changing at Southampton Central and Westbury (reasonably direct but not many services westwards from Westbury, and some potential connections missed by a few minutes).
18. We have collected a number of suggestions aimed at improving connectivity:
A half-hourly frequency on the Portsmouth-Bristol leg of the Portsmouth-Cardiff route would not only address capacity issues, but could significantly improve connectional opportunities at Westbury for passengers between the South Coast and Devon/Cornwall.
Stated operators’ aspirations in the recently aborted Great Western franchising exercise included running rights between Southampton Central and Poole, which were to apply from 2017. Direct journey opportunities between the Poole/Bournemouth/Christchurch conurbation and First Great Western territory should be commercially attractive. Despite the importance of Bournemouth as one of Britain’s few international tourist resorts, the town has a poor range of train services. One suggestion we would like to put forward is for any additional Bristol-South Coast services to continue to Portsmouth or Bournemouth/Poole in alternate hours. This would probably necessitate switching South West Trains’ hourly westbound Southampton Central-Poole stopping services to the opposite side of the hour, but this too would be commercially attractive, because there would be a journey saving of 25 minutes through elimination of the need for layover at Brockenhurst.
Your consultation suggests some services from Paddington might terminate at Westbury or Exeter. To provide better connectional opportunities for South Hampshire and Bournemouth area passengers, Paddington trains which stop at Westbury need to run beyond Exeter (which can already be reached from the South Coast via connections with South West Trains’ services at Salisbury).
A morning and evening return service between Weymouth, Dorchester, Yeovil Pen Mill and Yeovil Junction could provide useful connections between Weymouth and Exeter.
A Paddington-Westbury-Weymouth service has been mooted in the past. Such a service on Saturdays and Sundays would be especially useful. The growing population of the Weymouth area is exceptionally vulnerable to disruption from engineering work, because there is no diversionary route for some 60 miles at the western end of the South West Trains’ Waterloo-Weymouth line.”
Cause for relief as Go-Via keeps Southern with ‘quality’ bid;
Company is now the principal London commuter train operator;
Main partner, Go-Ahead, ranked most trustworthy company
Rail franchising has been widely discredited because of the dubious practices and unresponsiveness to passengers’ needs and aspirations of the worst operators. [See our History of South West Trains on www.shrug.info and the article on Portsmouth’s train services in this newsletter.] The re-franchising process alone costs taxpayers/farepayers dear, with DfT reportedly having spent £17.5m in the eleven months to the end of February without awarding a single contract. That said, given the comparatively good outcomes on Govia’s Southern franchise, their acquisition of the huge Thameslink/Southern/Great Northern franchise for the next seven years is probably the best result that rail users could have expected under the current system.
The new Govia (Go-Ahead 65% / Keolis (70% owned by SNCF) 35%) mega-franchise will bring a huge increase in capacity, many new trains including on Gatwick Express, extended staffing hours at one hundred stations, and a wider range of direct cross-London services. The award is potentially game-changing. The franchise is in addition to Govia’s existing South Eastern and London Midland franchises, making them the predominant London commuter surface train operator by a wide margin.
As Southern is already run by Govia, its absorption into Thameslink from 26.07.2015 should be seamless. Nothing has been announced about any changes to Victoria/Brighton/Littlehampton-Portsmouth/Southampton services. This may depend on knock-on effects from the very intensive new Thameslink cross-London service, and the Minister for Portsmouth’s ambitions to improve rail connectivity in the Solent area. Portsmouth rail users will hope that the non-toilet stock on Brighton-Portsmouth services can be superseded.
[Questions relating to Hampshire services in Southern’s Passenger Forum on 18.6.2014:
1. There has been a good deal of publicity about plans for core Thameslink services, but nothing about aspirations for the Portsmouth/Southampton corridor, although this is the major South Coast conurbation. The 'Minister for Portsmouth' recently put improved rail connectivity high on his list of aspirations for economic development in the area. Are there any plans for developing Southern/ Thameslink services in the area? For example, there is currently no service between Southampton and Gatwick Airport on Sundays, but people need to get to airports seven days a week. In addition, the re-routeing of Brighton trains via Southampton Airport seems to be proving difficult to achieve. There used to be direct services between Gatwick and Bournemouth (one of Britain's few resorts with international status). I realise Bournemouth is currently outside the franchise area, but presumably changes can be negotiated over time, as with the option in the aborted Great Western franchise specification for running rights between Southampton and Poole from 2017.
2. I would also be interested in finding out whether this deal could mean some earlier services from Chichester and further west to Gatwick Airport? I often need to take flights from as early as 5am/6am and the only way I can get there is through National Express or by Taxi at the moment, whilst I always prefer to take the train.
Response: There are no plans to change services in the existing Southern Franchise. Any proposed changes for the new TSGN Franchise will be available later this year and will be part of a consultation of possible changes to the timetable from December 2015.]
Stagecoach hoist with its own petards?
When the Virgin/Stagecoach partnership bid to retain the West Coast franchise, Sir Richard Branson and Mr Souter complained that franchises were awarded to the highest bidder, and more weight should be given to customer service. That is a legitimate concern. Stagecoach had bid about £600m more than its rivals for the current SWT franchise and then reduced customer service to the minimum. It appears that DfT concurred with their concerns. Railnews (June 2014) reports the Department’s franchising director, Peter Wilkinson, as saying of Govia’s bid: “The Thameslink programme is a massive undertaking, and this bid went into massive detail, focused on quality. We have bought, first and foremost, the best quality bid.” Not much opportunity for a Stagecoach challenge there.
Interestingly, the Financial Times had predicted weeks ahead that Govia might win the new mega-franchise, as a ‘safe pair of hands’. Without the Virgin/Stagecoach challenge to the financial robustness of First Group’s initially successful bid for the West Coast franchise, the subsequent review which steered government policy away from big franchises would probably not have happened. Stagecoach has lost a unique opportunity.
DfT has clearly chosen a financially very stable company for the big franchise prize. The Go-Ahead Group has been ranked first in a list of the top 50 big companies with high scores for trustworthy accounting and governance behaviour by proprietary ratings provider and investment adviser GMI Ratings. The 50 listed companies had the highest average scores for trustworthy behaviour over the four financial quarters ended 30 September 2013. The Go-Ahead Group scored 99 out of 100 for current accounting and governance risk, and averaged 96.5 over the four financial periods to 30 September 2013. Not much opportunity for a Stagecoach challenge here either.
As with the Greater Anglia and C2C franchises, Stagecoach would doubtless have loved to win this prize and realise its full profit potential by squeezing out quality from every aspect of operation. There is little evidence that the SWT/Network Alliance has mitigated Stagecoach practices. Compare Reading’s magnificent and iconic new station with the peeling, rotting and falling canopy awnings at Southampton Central.
As the wider rot on SWT continues, the joint wealth of the Stagecoach founders has soared to £1 billion in defiance of the recession. Yet the Financial Times of 29.04.2014 reported that Stagecoach is now focused on boosting revenue and keeping down costs on its SWT and East Midlands franchises.
How much more vicious can SWT’s revenue protection get, how much longer are ticket queues to grow, how many more stops can be omitted on an ad hoc basis to boost poor performance, and how many more hours are lifts to be unavailable to disabled people through limited staffing on stations (the expensively-installed lifts at Brentford can only be used five days a week from 06.30 to 10.30 when staff are present)?
A response on Twitter has confirmed that SWT introduced some surreptitious fare increases from mid-May. The programme to extend the class 458 units from four to five coaches is running a year late, and the first lengthened trains have been regularly out of service through defects. Passengers who find ticket machines broken are threatened if they don’t search the whole station for an operational machine, albeit that they lose their train after arriving at the station in good time.
[Note: The Scottish sleeper franchise has been awarded to Serco; National Express is to keep C2C; and Keolis has won the Docklands Light Railway.]
Still the ‘Cowboy Country’; Stagecoach threatens £50 penalty fares
It’s 15.40 at Weymouth on Sunday 8.6.2014. On one side of the platform, the screen shows the waiting train as the 16.48 to Waterloo. On the other side, the screen shows an identical train as the 17.48 to Waterloo. Both trains have their doors unlocked. A member of staff is removing passengers from the “16.48”, assuring them that the “17.48” is really the 15.48.
The 15.48 has a long station stop at Dorchester South while the guard announces forcefully that if any passengers with Advance or Megatrain tickets for the 16.48 or 17.48 are on board, revenue staff will show no discretion.
At Bournemouth there is a further forceful announcement that revenue staff will be on board, and anyone without a valid ticket will be charged a penalty fare of £50. [The standard penalty fare rate is actually £20.]
Transfer of the SWT franchise for quality operation long overdue?
Whither the Wessex Electrics?
The Brighton and Hove News reports a ministerial statement that the 108 new carriages for Gatwick Express in the new TSGN franchise ‘will also release some existing electric carriages to be used elsewhere in the country’.
Interestingly, SWT’s website refers to a “roll out of 108 additional carriages as part of Government’s High Level Output Specification”. This is probably coincidental, as the 108 carriages apparently include 60 being used to lengthen class 458 units on the Windsor lines. However, ‘Modern Railways’ magazine has already reported that SWT may be looking for up to a further 200 carriages.
The carriages being replaced on Gatwick Express are the class 442 Wessex Electric units, quality Mark III rolling stock built for the Waterloo-Weymouth main line but replaced with cheaper stock by Stagecoach to help boost its bonuses. With the Wessex Electrics back on the Weymouth line, the class 444 units could then return to the Waterloo-Portsmouth route for which they were built.
Such changes could be a welcome first step in reversing some of the worst effects of Stagecoach’s destructive greed on SWT. The Wessex Electrics’ motors have been in service almost 50 years, so even re-equipping them for dual voltage operation (assuming the Basingstoke-Southampton line switches to overhead electrification) would not seem an unreasonable expense.
Stagecoach has justified its rolling stock downgrades on the perceived need to cram Woking commuters into Portsmouth line trains with seats too narrow for anything close to their theoretical maximum occupation. Real solutions are needed. Elsewhere, HS2 is in principle a very positive railway development, but since one of its main objectives is to release capacity on routes northwards from London, two fundamental questions arise. Why is so much housing development being concentrated to the south-west of London, and why doesn’t such development require commensurate additional rail capacity?
Pending any Crossrail 2, which could be a generation away, there must be a strong case for a radical interim strategy on SWT, at least to increase capacity between Woking and Waterloo. An immediate improvement could come from remedial action to ensure that the prescribed SWT local services and train lengths actually operate. With a forward-looking operator, double-decker trains might still look attractive for this section. Associated infrastructure work would be limited by the lack of tunnels on the route, and any increase in boarding and alighting times should be easily accommodated since angry tweeters report many services leaving stations well ahead of schedule.
Ticket vending problems on SWT (April-June)
More than 40 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, Alton, Axminster, Bentley, Bracknell, Brockenhurst, Chessington South, Chiswick, Dorchester, Eastleigh, Egham, Esher, Farnborough, Farncombe, Hampton Court, Haslemere, Hersham, Hinton Admiral, Horsley, Hounslow, Leatherhead, Liss, London Road Guildford, Netley, Pokesdown, Poole, Portsmouth & Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour, Richmond, Shepperton, Sherborne, Southampton Airport, Southampton Central, Strawberry Hill, Sunningdale, Teddington, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, Weymouth, Winchfield, Woolston.
Ticket machine failures reported at more than 20 SWT stations
Ticket vending machines are as unreliable as ticket office opening hours on SWT. They have recently been advertised as out of action at Axminster, Bursledon, Chertsey, Claygate, Datchet, Hampton, Hampton Court, Hamworthy, Hersham, Hinchley Wood, Hounslow, Kempton Park, Kew Bridge, Oxshott, Poole, St Denys, Shepperton, Syon Lane, Upper Halliford, Wareham, West Byfleet, Weymouth, Wool.
It is clear from Twitter, and from reports that we receive, that the real position on both offices and machines is even worse.
Despair on SWT: Twitter exposes a franchise devoid of quality
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.
What is particularly noticeable on Twitter is the virtual absence of any promise to improve the treatment of passengers. Some excerpts for April-June, with small corrections and amendments, are below.
* “We don't advertise individual train alterations on twitter, as it could cause the feed to become flooded.”
* “The doors shut 30 seconds before the train departs, no exception due to Health and Safety reasons.” [So late-running trains always wait at stations after the doors have shut?]
* [Question: Why do you people now have a policy of missing out stations when a train is only four coaches? It is very, very poor!] “These trains quickly become full and delay is caused, they are therefore run non-stop from a specified point.”
* [Question: Half of Wimbledon station knocked down but a door can't be fixed? Broken for weeks now.] “Unfortunately, the replacement glass takes a long time to be made and delivered, which is why it's still out of use.
And from Journeycheck:
* “The traverser at Brockenhurst is not working. There is no step free access to or from Platforms 1 and 2. Customers who require step free access are advised to travel to Southampton Central or Bournemouth where road transport will be arranged.” [In other words, if you can’t access Brockenhurst station, you travel by road to Southampton and Bournemouth at your own expense, and SWT then provides you with road transport back to Brockenhurst where you still won’t be able to access the station!]
* “17:53 Windsor & Eton Riverside to London Waterloo due 18:49. This train will be cancelled. This is due to a member of train crew being unavailable. 18:23 Windsor & Eton Riverside to London Waterloo due 19:19. Service full and standing from Windsor & Eton Riverside. This is due to an unusually large passenger flow.” [Not due to the 17.53 being cancelled?]
* As if a total Easter shutdown of railways in the Southampton area wasn’t enough, SWT cancelled some 55 outer-suburban trains on the Saturday and Sunday. This was presented as ‘due to a resourcing issue’. Twitter revealed that ‘resourcing issue’ was a euphemism for a shortage of train crews. The same euphemism was rolled out for a few cancelled services on the following Saturday, and again resurfaced on 13 June.
* “07:15 London Waterloo to London Waterloo due 08:42. This train will no longer call at Barnes (on return at 08:19), Putney (on return at 08:22), Wandsworth Town (on return at 08:25), Clapham Junction (on return at 08:28), Queenstown Rd. Battersea (on return at 08:31) and Vauxhall (on return at 08:35). Will be formed of 4 coaches instead of 8. This is due to congestion.” [Not due to expected overcrowding through failure to run a full-length train?]
When is your franchise up for renewal? [Second caller: Can't come soon enough.] /// Your connection times are appalling. I had to run from one train to another in one minute. With luggage! Disgraceful! /// My hatred of SWT peaks, spent thousands over the years yet being treated like scum and criminal over honest mistake disgusts me. /// Ridiculous. Ascot ticket office closed and not allowed to buy tickets for tomorrow in machines before 3pm, WHY? I would imagine you lose more revenue from non-ticket purchase than stopping people buying tickets before 3pm! /// Just been kicked off by SWT for having the wrong ticket. I asked if I can pay the difference, they're the same price. /// Any cheap fares available from Winchester to London as per your 1/04 e’mail or was that an April Fool - Easter Egg-travaganza? [Response: We had a number of problems trying to introduce this promotion, so it was unfortunately cancelled.] /// Time to play the 'Get to work without incompetence getting in your way' game, so glad I won’t be a commuter after today. /// Is it standard procedure to give passengers 'unpaid ticket notices' when the guard’s card machine fails? /// I've been with SWT for 23 years. I ran for my last train, I've never missed a fare and I'm now met with a penalty warning. /// Reviewing the cycle policy soon. 28 months ago I thought? /// Short formations?? I didn't realise that 'carriage holidays' were part of an inflation busting price hike? Standing room only in my carriage into town today (Good Friday). if I don't fancy paying can I just not bother for a few months? You lot don’t bother running trains whenever you like so fair’s fair. Surprise, surprise another shocking SWT journey. The standard delay, and my word their staff are rude. /// No idea why you’re running 8 minutes late from St Margaret's, but thanks for utterly patronising request to carry bottle of water. /// You miss stations out to fiddle your performance figures and to hell with passengers! /// I've not had a single problem-free journey on SWT of late. Worst train company I've ever had the displeasure of, over years of travel. /// Are you finding that people are not complaining as much because they believe so little is delivered?
I spoke to customer services who said I'd just have to 'be patient' and the passenger charter basically doesn't exist. /// Still waiting for you to deal with a complaint going back to January, quite shocking to be fair. /// It's taken 1 week and about 15 different representatives from your company and so far they have got nowhere. /// I've already waited. 72 days/10 weeks. I think that's long enough. So I want action TODAY. /// Requested ticket refund on your website. Said money would be in my account between 3-5 days, but still not there over a month later... I am not interested in 3 months response time. The £60 I have spent on getting home won't wait that long. /// Putney customer service in a nutshell: "Nope, it's probably your fault". Had to hunt down someone who could release ticket from barrier. [Response: What happened?] Was told to find guy on platform, not there, then told I should have knocked for him at office I didn't know existed. /// Not impressed at Clapham Junction. Asked for a travelcard for today. Issued for tomorrow. I am on my way to Longfield in Kent to a game. I missed two trains and had to incur extra costs from Victoria when I was stopped. /// For the third time SWT, can you please chase the complaint I put in FOUR MONTHS AGO. /// Just bought a ticket from window 8 at Waterloo to use NOW and they printed it for TOMORROW so I had to buy another on train.. /// 2 months after I contacted SWT about claiming for a delay and they still haven't had the courtesy to even reply. /// You are showing utter contempt for the people that pay your wages by taking over 80 days to reply to an e’mail. Eventually sent me a reply. 81 days after I e’mailed them. And vouchers for £6. 81 days to get £6 from them. Shocking. Just glad I don't travel with you regularly. Normal human lifespan doesn't allow for how long it takes you to reply. /// Left my bag on the train, leaving Waterloo at 9.30am-ish (delayed) heading to Guildford or Dorking. Staff at Waterloo not helpful. [Response: Have you contacted our lost property department? If not, please call 020 7401 7861 and our staff can assist.] No one answers the phone.... It's been ringing for 5 minutes... Brilliant customer service all round today. /// It's now well over 2 months and 2 e’mails since my nightmare journey with SWT and still not even an apology. /// But you're still dealing with queries from January right? So it might take a while for a response. SWT shouldn't be left in charge of a puddle, much less a vital transportation network. /// I've called SWT customer service 3 times, been on hold - hung up on 3 times........ /// I bought a ticket from Axminster to Exeter Central for tomorrow morning, 7.36 train, but I've been given an off -peak ticket. What do I do? /// Over 3 months and waiting! [Response: They have been inundated following the poor weather - I'm sorry it's taken so long.] Sorry, I am sure you can understand why I think that's a pathetic excuse and why I think your management are not doing their duty. /// Purchased advance ticket at Waterloo tonight, been issued wrong ticket from Waterloo-Templecombe, instead of requested Templecombe-Waterloo, what can I do? /// It just gets worse. Utter incompetence. Do you want me to be your new Head of Customer Services at SWT? Assuming you have a department?
I have been phoning customer services repeatedly, Surely you can't advertise a fare that doesn't exist. Disappointed to say the least. [Response: I understand. The offer has only gone live this morning (8th April), I'm sorry for the disappointment it’s caused.] The briefing your text office held said the 7th, and I have an e’mail that said the 5th. I also tried to buy this morning online. /// (9th April) I am travelling tomorrow, Doesn't seem great service that I planned my trip and you have withdrawn the offer? [Response: Sorry about this, we'll have them back on sale as soon as we can.]
"The 7.52 train is delayed due to - we are sorry for any delay to your journey." At least it gets a reaction from all the passengers- you've never heard so much outrage on one platform! /// 7:14 from Petersfield to Waterloo cancelled? Where was the alert for that? /// Why was 6:41 from Ashford announced as 10-car when it was 8? /// Fantastic communication by the guards! 16.30 to Portsmouth delayed just enough so every gets on the 45 before the 30 leaves!!!! /// Bravo on the communication front! NO announcement re platform change at Putney. /// Great start to the day when you're already delayed before 7am. Thanks SWT, any reasons given?... No! /// Good start to the morning. No train. Staff no idea where it is. Piss up/brewery springs to mind. FGW blaming you for poor communications. No train from Reading to Wokingham since 6.15. Have work to go to. Not good enough. /// The Poole service I'm on didn't stop at St Denys as you said. We now have an hour wait to get to Swanwick! /// Your staff at Havant are a joke. Cannot figure out what order trains are running in, like they can overtake each other! /// [Announcement: Because of speed restrictions imposed, trains towards London are currently unable to call at Earlsfield and Vauxhall. 15-minute delays expected.] Maybe let the 2 staff at Earlsfield know this as they are clueless. My cat Trixxy Cuteface could manage this better. /// Appalling. 15.20 Waterloo-Exeter cancelled with 3 minutes notice. Later train only 6 carriages. Standing room only, many couldn't get on. /// If you change the platform at Wandsworth Town maybe notify the people waiting? You've just done it twice! /// And now we are sat at Salisbury, with no information as to why, with the doors locked. Nice work. /// Any idea where this train is? Station staff are clueless! /// Why does it sometimes say a different name of station ? "This is Staines" look out the window and it's Sunningdale? /// Wish SWT would communicate with station staff better, as nobody seems to be able to agree what's happening. /// Sitting on a train at Waterloo going nowhere. Thanks for the no announcements while other trains pull out. /// I'm on 5:25 from Waterloo now. Is that not stopping at Ash Vale?! [Response: No sorry, as it's being diverted via Guildford. You'll have to change at Aldershot.] Nice of someone to mention it on the train. /// What's the deal with all trains to Chessington cancelled and no further information?? I've been waiting at Clapham for an hour. No information, I've now got on a train to Surbiton. /// What the hell is going on at Clapham Junction? It's crazy, disorganised CHAOS and no one knows what is going on! /// The train time display board at Feltham station is not working... Don't know if trains are on time or which one is mine. /// When you have train delays and arrivals different from on the information screens, can you ensure platforms are staffed. Not easy with a pram. /// What is the point of your twitter account? [Response: Information is available from a number of sources. During disruption we cannot provide detail on every service amendment.] You never seem to provide accurate information and service is shocking. /// When will the departure boards in the Platforms 1-4 concourse be repaired? They've been out of action for weeks now. Isn't Wimbledon managed by SWT? The screens show SWT information. So why hasn't SWT ensured the screens work? [Response: I have been advised that we used to operate these screens, however not any more. I don't have the reason why.] I despair! Wimbledon is a busy station with worse passenger information than ever, and no-one taking responsibility. /// Think SWT have taken the **** this morning [Tube strike day] with twelve ticket inspectors at the station. Not giving information other than “Look at the board”. /// Complaint logged 30/03, not even an acknowledgement yet, made worse today by being sent to wrong train and having to pay a return fare, 3 months to resolve this one? Harassed staff at Clapham Junction misdirected, impromptu trip to Basingstoke, two hours later will make it to East Croydon!
I couldn't get home and the company refused to do anything about it. No trains and no answer! Your information man told me there's nothing he could do and I was abandoned! /// I am late because driver didn't stop in line with the platform at Vauxhall. How how how??? /// Now waiting for over an hour at Barnes station. Will you pay for a cab for me to get home? /// Four minutes delay, so miss my connection. On a 4-coach train that should be a 10. Customer satisfaction zero. /// So apparently SWT drivers just stop where they fancy rather than the advertised route. Doesn't it concern you that they forget to stop at stations? And where can I get a refund? /// Great work, thank you SWT!! Tell us all to move platforms and the train will wait! Then trains pulls out station without us!! /// How come the 20.13 train failed to stop at Oxshott station?? /// Train failure this morning on SWT led to missing the 8am from Kings Cross. /// I have 2 trains an hour on my line. You cancel one and make the other a non-stop service. Ridiculous. /// 0725 Wandsworth Town to Waterloo left platform at 0723. Bit harsh for a Monday morning. /// Am I ever going to get home? Cancelled train and then delayed train. Probably a packed train./// It left 1 minute and 45 seconds before it was meant to. /// One train to Tolworth every half hour, and it's been cancelled 2 days out of 3 this week. /// Why was the 07.49 Egham to Weybridge in such a hurry? Left a minute early. Guard gave passengers no time to get on. I'm now having to wait half an hour for the next train, and I was at the platform for five minutes before train arrived! /// 22 weeks pregnant, carrying a suitcase and made to get off and wait on my own in the cold all because of SWT. So upset after being kicked off my train due to the on-board ticket machine not working! I boarded at Hook for Waterloo at 5:31 [when ticket office closed]. /// Once again awful service! Cutting out a station because you need train for another service??? And for extortionate prices??? Thanks SWT for wasting 2.5 hours of my life and still not finished, 4 trains so far for a usual 40-minute journey. Is this the new SWT service motto.. Advertise the destinations, get everyone on board, then cancel half of them and dump two stops along? Thanks for messing up our break to the Isle of Wight. We missed the fast catamaran we were booked on because of SWT. /// Please why is the 06:14 train from Wimbledon to Waterloo consistently leaving Wimbledon at 06:11? /// Struggling really hard to not have an epic tantrum right here on the platform ... Delayed once again. /// Will you reply to my tweets please? I want to know why the 7:48 did not stop. /// 13.51 Esher-Waterloo, guard’s refusal to open doors means missed theatre performance; we were also standing at the doors 30 seconds before the doors are meant to close [Extraordinary response: this sounds like there could have been a problem with the door, I will make enquiries.] /// It doesn't do to leave catching your service to last minute. 13.20 Waterloo to Exeter left Waterloo, Basingstoke and Salisbury early. /// So on South West Trains the train comes to the platform and the doors don't open? The train driver just drove off. /// Train left 2 minutes early from Raynes Park. Staff said policy was to leave as soon as green light regardless of time. The next train wasn't due for 9 more minutes so maybe not the best call at that time in the morning. /// Or more accurately wasn't going to bother to make scheduled stops! You've done it before. 20 minutes of wasted time due to not giving a damn about people. /// Here we go again, two nights in a row that Dorking commuters have had 4 carriages. This is shocking service. When is the next Feltham to Whitton service?[Response: Did you manage to get on the 14:15 train? The Driver forgot to call because he thought he was doing another route. Apologies.] How can a driver forget to stop at a station? Lots of confusion at Feltham now. [Unconcerned response: This sometimes happens when the driver confuses his route. Human error I'm afraid.] /// Arrived at Malden Manor to find sign reading "No Trains". Same thing happened last week... So, my third day back at work and the second major delay from South West Trains. Thanks for making return from holiday so grim. /// Why did the 7.30 not stop at Whitton? Just went straight through am now late for work! [Response: We're investigating this now, but it appears to be due to driver error.] /// Signal failures as always. Makes my 2 hour commute and £320 monthly ticket so much more enjoyable. Your trains should leave at the scheduled time, not a minute before. And you should have a word with your staff about politeness. /// Thanks for just missing my stop at Ashurst. Was the driver asleep ? Overshooting by a train’s length? Emergency stop wasn't good. /// Shout out to SWT for their completely **** service this morning. Took me 3 hours to get in to work and a very rude member of staff at Kingston. /// If your trains aren’t late or delayed, leaving 40 seconds early doesn't sound much, but that has totally just ****** my journey! [Response: I can see it left approximately 40 seconds early from our system, I'll report this to the relevant team. Apologies.] /// Thanks for shutting doors at Leatherhead 35 seconds early. Ran to get to door, standing on the platform hitting ‘Open’ only to be left behind. /// No matter what day of the week I make the journey between Worcester Park and Waterloo there has a problem of some sort. /// Am confused as to why SWT would choose NOT to stop the train at Wimbledon, Clapham Junction and Vauxhall during a Tube strike? /// Why isn't the 0838 from Leatherhead stopping at Wimbledon? [Response: It's only 4 cars today, so people getting on at Wimbledon would overcrowd the service.] Not helpful if trying to get off at Wimbledon especially as the following trains are all delayed. How do I claim compensation please? [Smug response: You can pass comments on to our customer relations team but compensation will not be available for this.] Can you explain why not? You've inexplicably cancelled 2 trains to Wimbledon and delayed me by 45 minutes plus. /// I found the Tube OK today but had SWT trains cancelled in both directions – woeful. /// Why are you running 4-coach trains at 7pm, when its still rush hour and on a Tube strike day? /// 1740 from Walton meant to stop at Clapham Junction. Surbiton tannoy says straight to Waterloo. Chaos+confusion+guards were rude. /// It would be nice for SWT to let at least one train stop at Isleworth! This is ridiculous!
Was miles away reading on the train this morning and missed my stop. £20 fine for fare dodging from SWT. Genuine mistakes not allowed! /// Got 1st class ticket for my daughter to London surprised no complimentary drinks or snacks? Is that just on FGW? Their service fab. /// Hi there. Will you be offering free travel for runners of the London Marathon next Sunday? [Response: We will not be doing this as with previous years. Sorry about this. /// Wokingham Station, sign for 'Season Ticket Only' parking gets put up AFTER people have parked there! Come home to £80 fine!! /// How, in the eyes of SWT, can my boyfriend’s train be one hour late and mine not, when we were on the same train? My boyfriend and I travelled from Winchester to London Waterloo; our train was delayed by over and hour so we both filled out compensation forms.... [Boyfriend: Yeah, how can you can compensate me admitting my train was over an hour late and not Emily who was with me!] /// Family emergency meant I couldn't travel on my ticket yesterday. Is there any refund options for an unused advance please? [Response: Advance tickets aren't refundable, I'm afraid.] /// Please explain how overcrowding, standing and nearly 28c with 66% humidity justifies huge bonuses. /// So angry at how I've just been treated on the train. How do I make a complaint? I've just been fined. Even though I have a ticket. I was treated like a criminal but just an honest mistake!
London buses not accepting my train ticket despite no trains running and information saying they will be accepted? /// On a bus replacement service Dorchester to Poole. Driver utterly lost. We are VERY late. Another rubbish service like last week. /// Tthank God for passengers. Your coach replacement driver has no idea where Parkstone or Branksome are /// Driver is trying to find Upton. Please get taxis ready in Poole. There are three of is on this bus trying to get to London /// Over £60 for a return train ticket to London - which turns out to be a bus ticket, for a bus that has broken down. /// That's the 3rd one that's driven past and not stopped. Sort it out now please. I guess standing with a suitcase and waving frantically wasn't enough before. /// Lack of organisation and communication at Southampton Central. It seems buses are just as hard to organise for SWT. Told the next bus to Bournemouth was at 6 and then 5 minutes later a shout went out for 'last call for Bournemouth'. Cue for rush of about 10 people to get on the bus. Left hand not talking to the right hand, very disorganised and frustrating. /// Your bus replacement service was a shambles today... in both directions. Delayed coming into Parkway - I ran and just caught the connecting Cross Country service... other passengers missed it. /// Thanks for nothing, replacement coach stuck in traffic and train couldn't wait 2 minutes (on Good Friday) for us, now even more delay. /// Awful service on rail replacement from Southampton. Unhelpful, shouting staff and brooms left on walkways. Just expected more organisation and staff actually trying to help, not just standing around staring at confused customers. /// There aren't any staff at Millbrook station. I was standing at the stop in Millbrook and the bus drove straight past. Not ideal. /// Bus driver between Bournemouth and Southampton Airport got lost! Connection missed. /// Am currently on a bus replacement with broken air conditioning. Ridiculously hot - rail replacement buses are such a dud deal.
The ticket guard on train refused to let me buy a ticket! Guard at Waterloo was so rude to as I tried to buy one! [Unconcerned response: Customers are advised to purchase tickets before boarding.] Obviously I realise that! But what do you do when the ticket machine card reader doesn't work and it will only accept correct change! I only had notes! I tweeted several times for help. I ran up and down the train to find guard who was no help. /// Your train guards are so rude! I think it's your revenue protection officers, always find them abrupt and rude. [Second caller: I concur - I've never met a pleasant SWT revenue protection employee. The guards are variable. /// Please stop your gate staff at Waterloo laughing at people who miss their train. Not me but unprofessional. /// The rest of the carriage was thinking no way on this earth will he not let her (pregnant woman) in first class. He didn't. /// Sorry my mistake. One was hiding. There are actually 8 ticket inspectors at Walton-on-Thames doing nothing today..! /// Just been asked if I was "trying to be blonde" by SWT staff cos I asked about a very unclear sign. /// There was an incident of verbal abuse on the train yesterday. Not towards me. Was Customer Relations the right place to e’mail? /// At Wimbledon. Staff weren't letting us on the platform, causing congestion in main corridor. Gave up and took District Line! /// No guard, cancelled service... [Response: I've just checked, this was down to a rostering error, and we had no additional staff available at short notice.] /// Never met such a heartless and nasty man as the conductor on Waterloo to Southampton train. I hope he falls down a well. Don't people have rules about being decent to other people? Says a lot about your service. Heartless, money hungry bullies. I made the mistake of buying a young person’s ticket and had left my railcard at home. I explained I was having a really horrid day... and he demanded I open my purse, and told me I had to pay for a whole new ticket, I couldn't help crying because I'm skint. He couldn't have cared less. In tears I asked if I could get off the train. And he wouldn't let me. Where is human decency?! I offered to make up the difference. I was very polite, and he literally said "open your purse" why speak to me like that? /// You have Corporate Equalities policy? Not OK for SWT staff to stare and point with colleagues at alternate passengers! /// Your service is appalling and your staff are belligerent and incompetent. What is your reason for raising ticket prices? /// Instead of wasting money on security guards why not invest my money in erm...trains. Security guards are unhelpful and they scream. /// Completely unacceptable behaviour from staff who are meant to follow guidelines. One male member of staff told my boyfriend "I hope you are a better tennis coach then you are a human being", and he also grabbed and poked my arm which I class as physical assault . Another staff member laughed at us and told us .. we have no money, which he had no reason to say. [Response: Can I ask which station this happened at?] Isleworth station. I do also have the name of one of them. /// What's with the aggro rude police-impersonating 'Rail Enforcement Officers'? Treating all passengers as criminals. Very intimidating and not the first time this has happened. [Response: I will feed this information back to the Station Team - Just confirming they are not Police but staff with Hi-Vis vests?] They are dressed identically to police except for the labels on their hi-vis stab vests. Was threatened and lied to by one on Thursday. Assaulted too. Contacted police but couldn't wait two hours for them to arrive. Angry that I have had to write to your Customer Relations dept re a ticket seller not having patience or care with a foreign visitor. /// Your employees don't accept money at the ticket office (Guildford). /// Come on SWT driver. You saw us carrying a buggy down the stairs. You could've waited a few more seconds and let us on board... /// Doors of the back two coaches of the London Waterloo via Guildford train didn’t open. Sat at Haslemere waiting for a train back to Petersfield. Can I say the guard was ridiculously rude to us. /// Basic question is why clerk refused to issue online purchase via SWT web at nominated SWT station, when machines malfunctioning. /// Never in my whole life have I been as insulted as I was this morning by your staff and your service. I paid £4.20 for a ticket from Staines to Chertsey. My train then gets delayed last minute. Then your staff spoke to me like I was a piece of shit. Waste of my time and money and clearly this member of staff has no customer service abilities. I then had to get a lift because I had somewhere I needed to be urgently so also then had the cost of petrol on top of that. your staff need to respect customers to get respect from them. Rude staff who don't listen to problems. Just repeatedly got louder at talking over and at me, without listening to me or attempting to help. /// One of your ticket inspectors needs to work on their customer service! Despite not having ticket machine at Keynsham and the ticket man going AWOL on the train, she insisted it was my responsibility to have a ticket already and proceeded to talk to me as if I was a child. Very poor customer service. Only then did the ticket man come and ask me if I needed a ticket. /// Appalled by the staff at Southampton Airport Parkway right now of no help to a clearly distressed teenage girl! Now have to get a train that involves crossing London by myself with a suitcase which is a scary prospect. /// 7.03 from Berrylands, and what about your abusive staff? Anything to say on that matter? Seriously what do you get paid for? Why not look at the numerous tweets about the incidents at Clapham! Do ever provide helpful replies or do you just reply with questions to further irritate the cash cows you funnily call 'valued customers'? /// Shouting in the face of passengers and then ignoring them is not right. /// SWT is a joke! Platform of people at Ashford, 3 staff too busy chatting to tell us the screens are wrong! 50 missed their train! Useless! /// Good to know that SWT staff have consistency with their rude arrogant and unhelpful staff, no matter the day or the time. Why do your staff find it appropriate to treat customers so rudely? Your staff are a joke. Your guards have no ideas of manners or courtesy. [Second caller: I've repeatedly suggested they give their rude, aggressive, intimidating and unhelpful staff customer service training. [Remarkable reply: We are launching a customer service training course soon for our staff, so this situation should improve. Eight (that's 8) SWT staff checking tickets at little Swanwick station. That's 4 per door! Slightly heavy-handed? What/who are you expecting!
Any idea when Tolworth Station will be refurbished? The whole station should be demolished and rebuilt - it's a disgrace. /// Any update regarding the Surbiton toilets? Still out of action and no information on website. They've been out for ages - apparently water problem or something. /// You need more staff serving at ticket office. Only 1 position open and huge queue to door. /// Disappointed with your ticket office staff at Winchfield this morning ... once again position closed and queue at ticket machine! /// Why was there no staff on the platform at Weybridge [when line to Virginia Water closed]? A guard from another train told us where to go. /// At the ticket office in Waterloo! Ridiculous queue and only have half their windows open?! By the way it is rush hour. The help point on platform 2 at Walton-on-Thames isn't working. Not much help then. /// Disappointed with assistance at Southampton [when only replacement buses operating]. No one was waiting and when I asked we were told to use the lift. /// Can you fix the speaker at the top of Platform 5 at Clapham Junction? Near the lift. When you swap platforms we can't hear the announcements! /// At Barnes Bridge the PA is saying 'platform 1' or 'platform 2' without anything else. /// It's 14:30, the sun is shining, I've gone through 10 stations and they all have lights on the platforms on. Stop wasting money! /// Toilets at Clapham Junction are filthy. Thought you might like to know and get your Station Manager on the case. /// Someone is not telling the truth at SWT. Your rubbish at Wimbledon is not being cleared overnight as promised! /// (Southampton Central) The trains say "listen to announcements" on the side but no one can hear the announcements they are so soft. Platforms 3a/3b trains to Brockenhurst + Brighton (17.30 + 17.33). Announcements inaudible, confusion reigned. /// Now at Clapham Junction where two of the three ladies’ toilets are out of order and there's a massive queue - come on. /// Not good. Went to London; no toilet working in the disabled compartment and coming home same thing. /// Very poor baby changing at Southampton. Room locked, no signs and rude staff. /// What is the point of having waiting areas at Clapham Junction if they’re never open to the public? 25 minutes to wait and nowhere to sit. /// I’ve reported on multiple occasions about the roof leaking at Kingston, why are you not addressing this?
There is only 1 ticket machine at Wokingham (on Reading side) and it takes approximately 3 minutes per transaction. /// Bought ticket from machine at Farncombe just now. Gave me change but no ticket! /// Only 1 of 3 ticket machines working at Putney station. That's handy at rush hour. /// Can you get someone down to the Hersham ticket machine to fix it? Not taking money. Only card. /// Do staff at Waterloo know we were unable to use ticket machines? /// Hi, why are there no signs or staff at Egham station to indicate where the buses go from? /// Ticket machine not working at Hinchley Wood. Don't fancy getting a fine when I reach my destination. Can you inform staff? /// The only machine at Queenstown Road platform does not recognise cards. It's been months! Please fix this! [Response: According to our system it should be working. Can you give me any details so we can look into this?] When I put the card in (tried 3 times, 2 different ones) it tells me card not recognised... [Response: Can I ask whether you've tried either of the machines on the concourse?] It's closed! Had to be issued this at Waterloo and get shouted at! This is disgraceful! Rudest person I've ever met in a customer service role at Waterloo. /// Can you just fix the two ticket machines on the left at Southampton Central! They haven't worked for months! /// Ticket machines at Farncombe are only offering 1st class tickets to Cobham & Stoke d’Abernon - an IT fault ? Tickets machines at Isleworth are an absolute shambles. Your stupid ticket machines took my money then terminated my request. So now I have no money and no ticket. /// Any chance someone could take a look at the ticket machine on southbound side of Worcester Park?? Touch screen doesn't work and disgusting. /// Ticket machine at western end of Fratton station is faulty and has been for some days now. Not recognising cards. /// Ticket machine at Hampton Wick out of service and no one at ticket office - just in case you weren't aware. /// Cards not working in ticket machines at Clapham Junction and no signs or staff to warn people. Man in the office can't help either with Oyster. ///Always good to miss your train thanks to SWT’s ****** ticket machines. Especially when on your way to an interview. Thanks guys. /// Ticket kiosks broken again at Wandsworth Town. Happening too often!
It's only April and you already feel like a roasting pig on SWT. Can you install some air conditioning? We are PEOPLE! /// I'm on the 17:48 from Waterloo to Southampton. The toilet doesn't flush and the tap sprays all over the room including the toilet seat/lid /// Appalled at the service by SWT. I did not pay first class for such bad treatment. It's freezing cold and have been on the train 2 hours with no refreshments: neither complimentary nor available to buy. /// Would the driver of SWT service to Kingston like to turn the lights back on? Not a fan of reading in the dark! /// Due to an extremely short train at peak rush hour, it was too busy and I couldn't get on. This is ridiculous... sort it out! /// Couldn't get train as they decided to put a shorter one on. Half hour for next train which now has delays. Delays this morning too! /// Your toilets on the 22.30 to Portsmouth Harbour are truly disgusting. For the money people pay to use your trains it’s awful service! /// 1705 to Aldershot, please tell guard at end of train, the front of train has no air conditioning, can hardly breath it's so stuffy. /// So many of your services have faulty toilets, it's rubbish and inhumane and needs sorting. /// **GENUINE**.. Announced on 18:35 Waterloo to Reading: 'Stand away from doors, you are so stupid if you can't, that you shouldn't use trains'. Most people on train laughed in disbelief but even so, bit strong? /// Any idea why the toilet on the 1720 Waterloo to Reading is out of order? It has been the same every day this week! /// What has happened to the 18:35 Guildford to Waterloo? Always used to be much longer train. Now takes far too long to get everyone on. [Response: This is planned to be 5 cars in length, it is not short formed.] Next time you review I'd suggest at least 6 - I had to walk almost the entire length of the train to be able to get on it! May be planned but it’s crazy when there is 35 minute gap between trains. Guard is blowing whistle while people still boarding. /// 6:20 to Exeter is filthy. Why can't people put their rubbish in the bins? Why can't SWT clean up? /// Ridiculously hot on the 8:10 from Kew Bridge to London Waterloo! Heaters on full blast! /// 1818 Haslemere train, Air conditioning unacceptably loud. Maintain trains properly. Now have headache. [Response: Can you mention this to the guard when they come through? It may be a fault, if so it can be reported.] Too many people in the train for guard to come through as 1815 was cancelled!! /// Why did the 17.46 from Barnes Bridge not open the doors and let me on despite me obviously trying to get on the 2nd carriage? /// It's been over a year and the door on this train remains broken 450-63921. Poor show SWT. /// Nice to see the clocks on your trains have been changed. NOT. /// What a joke, the 1929 London Waterloo to Bristol Temple Meads: WC permanently engaged, clock not put forward [2 weeks into BST], wait for ever at Salisbury. /// Is there any particular reason why the Passenger Information System has been switched off on the majority of 444s I've travelled on recently? Tonight on 1W75 and quite a few other services over the past 2 weeks or so. [Second caller: I can second that, no automatic or guard announcements at all on 1W75 from Bournemouth.. Also seen many trains with just 'South West Trains' instead of a destination on the side. /// Wish SWT would stop closing the train doors on people, they just closed them on a push chair half way in... No whistles, nobody on dispatch either - the doors always just close as a queue of people is still getting on... /// When all the lavatories on an 8 car train (19:53 Waterloo-Alton) are out of service someone needs at least a word in their ear. /// Why does the 17.25 Exeter to Waterloo only have 3 carriages? Twice as many standing in aisles as seated, and only two stops in. /// I love how we're all crammed into a half size train at rush hour at the start of a bank holiday weekend. /// I should pay £40.00 to stand in piss more often, thanks SWT. Yea, not to fun standing from Clapham Junction to Salisbury, that's 1:15 in urine, no guard in sight, too packed. (on Good Friday). /// It's the weekend, which means another short and therefore massively overcrowded train from SWT. /// Reservations are desperately needed on longer SWT services! Had a horrific journey and now my wrist is in pain as result! I got on at Basingstoke at 17:35 to Clapham. I had two young children with me as well. Conductor onboard was unhelpful! /// Put more carriages on the 6.50 train from Gillingham Dorset to Waterloo! We're squashed like sardines in a hot tin can! An apology over the tannoy might be nice for the 20+ people who have been stood for 1.5 hours now, and that's just this carriage. /// Please turn your heating off on all trains (particularly busy London commute trains). It is unbearable. /// Incredible heat on the 18:02 from Surbiton to Waterloo. Heaters blasting out hot air. Your rolling stock is knackered. Sort it. /// There seems to be a leak in carriage 77687? It's coming out from behind the light panel on the right next to the exit to next car. Three hours costing nearly £70 from Weymouth to London; you still can’t provide luggage holds or plug sockets, or cleaner for loos. /// It was so dangerously overcrowded that people were getting crushed and upset!!
Thank you SWT for reminding me of why I seldom use your dire ‘service’: “Train cancelled due to temporary shortage of staff”. /// Can you confirm times when senior managers at next passenger forum. Middle/lower managers not really valid. [Evasive response: They are spread out through the day so that everyone gets to meet as many as possible.] /// Dare I ask why you are 15th in Which’s trains league table? [Response: I’m afraid I can’t comment on that.] /// Horrible journey. Nearly fainted. /// The worst rail company in the UK outdoes itself again. /// Tomorrow I replace my annual Gold Card for the 5th time this year - can we have more robust (and smart) season tickets please? /// Apparently SWT don't believe in British Summer Time...the clock hasn't been updated from over a month ago. /// SWT is a joke of a company!!!! Waiting for this train is going to be longer than actual journey!! It's a joke, no member of staff to advise different routes or even open the waiting room, so I'm freezing. Actually wanted to be in Portsmouth on time but let down by your company AGAIN. Still waiting on a refund from February! /// Pathetic, chaotic nonsense at Twickenham. London 7s ruined by SWT’s inability to get people there or away in any coherent fashion. /// It really does seem like you lurch from one mess to another on a seemingly daily basis. /// SWT are sorry to announce… that they are a terrible service. /// What is the point in skipping stations because a train is delayed? Clapham Junction is a pretty big station not to stop at. You’re making time up by skipping hundreds of people waiting for a train. /// Why do you keep only putting 4-carriage train Waterloo to Dorking? Been stranded 4 times now. Joke of a company. /// Sigh. Trains cancelled. Joy to the world! Thanks SWT. /// It's the second time I've seen someone in good health pass out on a train due to cramped conditions. Will you let it happen again? /// In Japan there is personal pride that their trains run on time. SWT has none. /// There appears to be a misprint in the new timetables. It has the customer service line as 0845 6000 650. It also makes the claim the 0845 number is "local rate". That hasn't been true since 2004. /// Been travelling for hours now on what should've been a 50 minute journey. Not enough staff in Basingstoke? Pathetic. /// You are the worst. Random cancellation of train then the train passes with people in it but doesn't stop. Missed football match. /// Have you got the promised update on the elusive cycle review? I have raised it at every single forum, Webchat, Tweet the Managers at SWT for 3 years and still nothing is done about it. Completely pointless. On December 14 this will have been 3 years since the policy review started and yet no progress. Are you taking this safety issue seriously? /// Basically speaking they save money through cancellations. Are we getting any compensation as a result of your faults?! /// Is it possible to get a message to a guard on the London Waterloo to Havant train that departed Waterloo at 23.45? [Response: What is the problem?] Husband is asleep on train and needs ejecting at Havant! Apologies for request but I am worried about him. [Response: I'm afraid we can't make individual requests like this. The train arrives at 1:21 at Havant.] /// Useless again. No first class seats on 1535 to Dorchester. Still waiting on my refund for cancelled Xmas train so not much hope. /// Absolutely crawling to Waterloo right now. [Extraordinary response: Sorry for this. We've got some problems with foliage near Clapham, so trains are running slower than normal causing delays.] /// What is the price to rental a secure bicycle storage locker at your Whitchurch train station? [Unhelpful response: I don't know, will find out. The ticket office would have this information in case you pass through today.] Alas, you closed the ticket office on Saturdays years ago which does inconvenience many families. /// When is there not a delay on this line?! /// Just been on the Island Line train that caught fire. All safe, but missed ferry and train connections. Is there compensation? /// The stress you cause me. The whistle goes before people have set foot on the train and causes a mad panic. /// Pleased I'm not a regular on SWT. Train taken out of service, multiple cancellations. Wrong departure board information and no messaging. /// We were just dumped at Wareham, staff left us there, no toilets, no trains no buses no taxis. Is this normal? /// Any reason why doors didn't open at Yeovil Junction on 18.51 from Salisbury? Teenage son on first solo journey and now at Crewkerne. /// 1527 service from Salisbury pulled away from Clapham Junction during disembarkation meaning an unwanted trip to Waterloo!
Please keep your messages consistent SWT. Not impressed having to repurchase a ticket and now claim a refund. /// I still haven't had a refund from SWT for my cancelled train on 24th December. I wonder how many people have just given up? /// I sent 2 complaint e’mails back in February. Am I ever going to hear back from you? [Second caller: I think I have been waiting over 4 months now for an answer to mine so don't hold your breath!! [Third caller: 5 months here.] /// They clearly aren't being dealt with! Over 3 months since the January e‘mails! Please follow up on my behalf. [Shocking response: You should hear back about your January e’mails in the next few days, but I'm afraid your February e’mails will take longer (approx 1 month).] /// Still haven't heard anything back from SWT, only filed a case last year... It would be much better customer service for them to communicate and manage expectations than pretend it's business as usual! /// Processing is a complete joke. Very, very unhappy and I'll be complaining to trading standards. It's now over 6 months since I lodged a complaint with SWT. I think I might give up now on a formal response! /// Mistake at Farnborough ticket office leaves 2 pending transactions on my debit card. /// I phoned on April 2nd and was told a reply was 7 days away. It was not, and has still not been received. Sent 2 letters of complaint to your Southampton office recorded delivery 14-03-14 and again 14-04-14; very poor service!! /// Me: 'Can you replace my damaged season ticket? Staff: 'It takes 6 minutes, and I shut the office in 5. Come back tomorrow'. /// Thank you for the ‘pleasure’ of paying for your disgusting customer service. /// Why have you not replied to any of my customer service e’mails over a 4 month period? /// I waited 45 minutes with no information from staff or reply from you. You are paying for my taxi and don't try and get out if it. /// Sent my complaint to you on 7th of February and still haven't heard back! I would like a number to call now please? /// My mother is £120 out of pocket and has wasted the last 2 days trying to contact your company, can you help, please? Machine ran out of paper in middle of printing tickets and you have no process for sorting this out? /// I did receive a reply, it was a cut and paste of your void day policy. No reference to my complaint at all. What now? /// Nowhere near enough people manning the ticket office at Waterloo this morning. Packed and two windows open.
You can see how close I have to sit to the toilet as you can see me in the mirror from the place my wheelchair is situated. [Response: Not a pleasant sight. I've informed the train care team and they'll clean it when it gets in.] It smelled bad enough here but now sat next to loo with another passenger having a poo. Can you not do better by wheelchair users?
Why are ‘fastest train’ indicators not working at Clapham Junction? Mad! Asking a member of staff is fine if you can find one!!! /// Communication is rubbish yet again. If a train is cancelled, just say that, don't have platform signs suggesting otherwise. Just got on the wrong Guildford train at Wimbledon. Why is there no indicator on the screen like ‘via xyz’. [Response: There should be, either via Epsom or Cobham] Not on the platform indicators. I can't count how many people I know that have made this mistake. /// I'm sure you can understand the frustration. Communications between SWT and the customer are appalling. Communication levels at Richmond station are frankly a joke. Your attendants just stand around and chat. Passengers stood on platforms and not knowing which trains are leaving first. /// Very confusing, a few passengers left to get buses only for the train to then arrive! Lucky I and a few others stayed! /// Putney station platform 4 train indicator has been out of order for some time. Any idea when it will be fixed? /// Not only are your trains broken and consequently late, the tannoys on the platform don't work so no one can hear the alterations. By the time people had moved to platform 6 to get the 18:31, it had gone. /// Telling us platform changes too late. Would be helpful if there were announcements at Clapham Junction stating why trains weren't stopping / not turning up! Why do your announcers give no warning of platform alterations in rush hour! Tried running up and down stairs at Clapham Junction. Impossible! You told us the wrong information. Nearly missed the 1815 because of your inadequacies! /// Still no real-time information on Platform 2 at Ewell West. It's been like that for a while now... /// I know you were going on the information you had at the time but I left work for nothing. Missed delayed 2.47 and now have 30 minutes wait. /// Thanks to SWT and the wrong announcement, I've just had a panic attack thinking I was on the wrong train. I wasn't. /// Asking for help via Twitter doesn't always work, SWT have been ignoring me for over a month now... /// Train delayed with no explanation, another train going the same way comes and goes without any indication of which leaves first. /// Three different platforms announced for same train in as many minutes. /// Four-coach train again? Your duty manager was even worse than the service and no accountability for your consistent failure. 1848 to Guildford. The duty manager may as well not been there. There is no consideration for customers. This happens too often. Thanks for the help. ANY station staff or notices to this effect would have been really great. No staff, no trains. Not good! /// Having to pay another £8 to get home after being told my ticket would be OK as a return for the next day. /// Can you at least inform us when you decide to randomly cancel trains? /// Is anyone going to tell us why we have been sat on the platform at New Malden for 20 minutes when we might be moving? /// Seriously, if your guards can't be bothered to communicate, have the decency to train them or sack them. 15 minutes and not a word. /// Guard keeps apologising but has yet to mention how to get refund. Policy not to let customers know how to claim compensation? /// Why was the 8.44 from Chiswick fast to London Waterloo only? No information given until the guard told us to get off!! /// On delayed train, don't know where it's stopping, the guard is giving out announcements but you can't hear him. /// Have managed to get a train by driving 25 miles to Bournemouth and waiting. No usable information from staff or ticket office. /// No platform announcements from SWT about this at Twickenham. Do platform staff not know, or just not care? /// You said the train had arrived but it was nowhere to be seen. [Remarkable response: There are some places where that app makes a 'best guess' at the train’s location. I suspect Whitchurch is one of them.] /// What rankles most is the poor information, verging on fantasy and falsity, that is provided on the web and at the stations. /// You're scared of using Twitter for updates as people can respond, you hide behind web page updates. Rubbish customer service. [Revealing response: No, we feel that if we tweet every single alteration (especially during disruption) this would swamp our other information. /// No announcements, no staff, and conductor refused to speak. /// Your lot are having a shocker with passenger information at Waterloo tonight. Be cheaper to put some dead fish in charge. /// The staff just weren't sure of which platform to catch trains or alternative routes. This meant an hour standing on one train. /// Sort your act out. Don't announce a platform on the board if it's not the right one! At least I could run, unlike others. /// Guard announced calling points but didn't even acknowledge our being sat at Bournemouth for 22 minutes.
When did it become standard practice to shut train doors a minute before departure? /// Why did your boards at Clapham Junction advertise next fastest train to Waterloo at 16:27 platform 7, but the train didn't stop? [Unconcerned response: According to our system the train did stop there but might have left a little early. Can I ask when you got to the platform?] /// Really fed up. 3 days in a row train delayed. St Margaret’s to Waterloo. Will now miss connection - just what is going on? 9 am train. /// Not sure of end destination. Just heard the announcement that it was the 09:03 and going to Vauxhall. Left before 09.00! /// Your "10" minute delay and decision re not stopping at Clapham Junction means I will get to work 40 minutes late. /// Why did trains not stop at Clapham Junction? To keep your punctuality statistics good? /// How do I get refund for 3.42 Shepperton train from Waterloo? Driver late, broken train, dumped off one stop before busiest station. /// I got on the 13:12 at Surbiton, it was going to stop at New Malden. And then it wasn't. I had to touch in and touch out again. /// Thanks for ruining my entire weekend again by cancelling a train to Waterloo without warning. I check before I travel to no avail. /// Why has 2C54 stopped at St Margaret’s and on board notice saying all stations when platform information system at Twickenham said Richmond and Clapham Junction only? /// Clearly you can’t get it right, yet again a 4-car service. Stuck at Vauxhall as the train is now too full to close the doors /// Guard literally pushing people into crowded short formation train at Vauxhall. Classic Monday night commute. [Extraordinary response: Sorry for the discomfort, we're awaiting replacement parts on some units at the present time. Working hard to bring them back.] Comment: Remarkable that no spare parts held, and how can they be working hard to bring the trains back into service if they don’t have the spare parts? /// The word from the train is lots of customers are very unhappy due to missed stops. /// The 6.55am from New Malden to Waterloo left a full minute before it should have; leaving your customers at the station! Why? [Response: You are right, it left a minute early from the previous station, sorry about this. Your next train is 0706. Will feed this back.] /// At Andover at 5:15 am, 3 cancelled trains later I’m still sat in waiting room. At least that's open for a change! What a joke! /// This was a problem that was reported 10 hours ago. Services were resumed at 5pm. It's now 1.50 and I am nowhere near home. Appalling service and customer help today. /// Not impressed. Nearly 2 hours late to Clapham Junction from Exeter. On train now. Not helpful when train pulls away as commuters off adjacent train try to get on. Half hour wait. /// [With photo.] Last week you called me a liar when I said you'd dispatched the train too early. [I'm very sorry about this, doors should be locked 30 seconds before departure but clearly this was before that.] /// Love waiting on a train being delayed for 40 minutes when the actual journey time takes less than that. /// There is nobody to tell you where to get the bus, what time the bus is, or where the bus stop is, there is no sign apologising. /// Getting pretty tired of your company skipping my station when trains are late! /// How the hell do I get from Waterloo to Winchester?! I’ve been waiting 50 minutes for a train.. /// SWT are making me an hour late for my maths exam! /// Making me getting on for 2 hours late resulting in ridiculous stress levels is absolutely not an inconvenience - it's an outrage!! /// Thanks for giving me such a great start to the day. 4 days you've had with perfect weather and you still can't get it done. /// Disgraceful service today from start to finish. Rude staff at New Malden, and then told to get my own way from Southampton to New Malden as no buses! /// Near revolt at Farnham station this evening. Passengers very upset at 2hr+ delays due to broken down train at Wanborough. /// At 9.11 you have 2 trains to Waterloo, one fast one slow .. but you turned the slow into fast without warning = 2 fast trains at 9.11 - why? /// Why was the 7am Hamble to Southampton Central cancelled? No warning, and I have an interview to get to! /// Care to explain why an empty stock train to Farnham sidings has just breezed through while we've been waiting for half an hour? And now that empty train has broken down in front of us. /// Fifth time this month 8:48 from Surbiton to Waterloo has been cancelled!!! Get a grip. /// I bought a ticket but no trains turned up so I eventually gave up and found another way to get there. /// Connection at Staines missed: 1. Minutes late home: 30. Apologies from guard: 0. /// Have lost most of my morning due to NOT knowing best decision. Need response re driver of previous train not opening doors. /// Thanks to your late running of 14 minutes because of a number of delays, I now have to wait an hour at Southampton. /// I am close to a rant at SWT...kicked off train at Wimbledon and all future trains cancelled...argh!! /// At Parkstone station, 15.44 train announced, train approaches (late), train doesn't stop! What's going on?! /// This was 3 minutes...timetable said it was the 53 past, was gone by 50, now the guard is saying we're terminating at Clapham Junction (an hour late and counting and now have to change...)
Absolute joke. My son ruined my ticket, I had the receipt yet I still had to buy a new one and your staff were incredibly rude. Ticket was damaged enough that it got jammed in the machine. It was a travel card from Fleet. I had the receipt, Tubes let me through when I explained but at Waterloo I had to buy a new ticket. /// Why is it when I ask the train guard if I can buy a ticket at destination, he says yes, but when I get there they fine me? /// Are you going to be offering refunds to those of us unable to change at Clapham for Victoria and now required to use the Tube? [Response: You can speak to customer relations about this, we are unable to advise of this.] Brilliant! That means another 4-week [4-month?] wait for any form of response from them then. /// How is it cheaper to get the train all the way to Exeter than it is to go to Andover - on the exact same train! /// Earley station, bought a ticket, dropped it on the track, asked to get another one. Showed the receipt and he said it's not allowed. /// The machine says my railcard is valid after 8:45 (and it is now 9:45...) But keeps trying to charge me £12!!? Instead of £2.50... /// Charging an 'External Voucher Surplus' for using a rail voucher issued by yourselves - really?! /// Overcharged. Refused a refund and now late for work. Same route every Saturday and they say it's my fault. /// Get the feeling SWT think I'll just forget about the £265 I'm due back. Awaiting the latest excuse for lack of response. /// Your staff need to sing from the same hymn sheet! Ashford station staff said I can buy ticket on the train as card reader not working. [Response: If the card readers aren't working, you can buy on board if the facility is available, or at interchange or destination.] Then you need to retrain your inspectors/revenue people that information instead of shouting in front of passengers! [Response: However if facilities were working on the other side, then you may be liable to a penalty fare.] Then the staff at the station should tell you that. I maybe good at many things but mind reading is not one of them! /// Why should I pay £40 fine when I made a mistake. You pay me back the times you made a mistake and I’ll pay my fine!!! /// Why is a return from Ash to Guildford more expensive than a return from Ash to Godalming (a longer journey)? /// One question: when did the Anytime day Return ticket London Terminals to Basingstoke get its price increased? [Response: I believe there were some minor alterations to fares when the timetable changed.] /// Ticket machine at Woking station didn’t give me £2 of my change! No time to quibble, luckily was only £2. [Response: I don't think we're able to get your change now, but I'll ask the station staff to check the machine so no-one else has this happen.]
Horrendous bus replacement service. No signs where to get the bus from, no staff around and no bus in sight! Good work SWT. /// Why are there no extra signs at Feltham to say that there is rail replacement? Displays are broken and staff are tucked away. If you didn't offer such a consistently poor service this wouldn't be so irritating. Is there any information available as I find it very poor that there isn't, with less than 2 weeks to go until the works [Response: The bus timetable isn't available internally yet. I can assure you it will be published closer to the time on our site. /// 9pm is ridiculously early to be putting passengers through bus replacement hell. /// No signs or help to where rail replacement leaving from. Poor old lady been stood there an hour and bus still drives off. /// Bus finally arrives, less than 30 minutes to reach my connecting train or it's an hour wait. Worst service ever. /// Rail replacement buses are so full that people are being left at stations. Suggest get more coaches. /// You've given no information about bus times Parkstone-Bournemouth. [Remarkable response: I'm sorry but these buses are not running to a set timetable except from their origins.] I've now arrived at the station and been told otherwise, thanks for wasting my time. Basically I’ve to find a way to Bournemouth off my own back. /// When I have paid SWT full price to get me to Kingston I don't expect to waste an hour being sent on the wrong bus going nowhere.
Have a word with the platform prefects at Earlsfield please. I don't like being shouted at by officious men in hi-vis pre coffee. It's the people you've employed to ensure people stand behind the yellow line. They're rude and it’s more than a bit patronising. I tend not be impressed when staff forget their purpose is to provide a service to customers. I think we all already know to stand behind the yellow line and don't need a team of people shouting at us to do so. It might also help if your trains weren't so overcrowded that people rush to get in the doors - thus breaching that vital line. Maybe invest in solving the root cause of the problem rather than wasting money hiring people who add no value whatsoever. /// Any particular reason majority of the men who do ticket inspection for SWT through Staines are ridiculously arrogant? /// Absolutely disgusted with the attitude of SWT staff. One of the machines at Hersham was broken, and despite arriving in plenty of time, we would've missed the train if we'd queued. So we asked the ticket officers at Weybridge before we got on the train, to be told that if we got on without a ticket we'd be fined so had to go to the office. The woman at the gate then insisted on making us wait, to talk to other passengers. Eventually (after several rude comments) she let us through to the office, where we bought tickets. We then had to wait longer while she stared at our tickets on the way back, and as a result missed our train, and we're half an hour late to college. Sad thing is, the staff are always extremely rude! /// Very rude ticket conductor on SWT journey to London Waterloo. /// How many years of training do your staff need to reach the amazing level of rudeness and incompetence they all display? /// Twelve ticket inspectors really needed at Teddington? One is checking tickets, the rest having a chat and reading the paper. One has enough time to do the crossword. /// Conductor said there wasn’t enough room (which there was) and told me to go further up the train. Then proceeded to close doors. 1755 from Waterloo to Brookwood. Please consider this a formal complaint. [Response: I will forward this on, but to raise a complaint you'll need to contact Customer Relations here.] Ahh. Typical. You've got all the information you require, but still force people to jump through hoops to make a complaint. /// HELLO, IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE A FORMAL COMPLAINT ABOUT A RUDE, VILE, UNPROFESSIONAL FARE COLLECTOR THAT I DEALT WITH TODAY? PENALTY FARE COLLECTOR. I HAVE HIS IDENTIFICATION NUMBER. I WAS TREATED UNLAWFULLY AND UNFAIRLY. /// So my train from Honiton is delayed by 45 minutes and your station manager doesn't speak to people who have a different opinion! This is a quote from Justin: "people who have a different opinion to me don't tend to get very far." Thanks for absolutely nothing. Your levels of customer service are awful. You should be ashamed of yourself...... /// Why does it take four guards to intimidate one person? All I've found from these people is rudeness. /// Just been publicly intimidated by 6 male members of staff at Waterloo barriers who refused to give their names. One in particular was very aggressive and raised his voice in my face. Would this have happened if I was a man? /// Today was going so well... until I had a run-in with an unnecessarily aggressive SWT guard. I genuinely feel shaken up. /// Have never heard a more disinterested guard than the one on the 16:42 Waterloo to Basingstoke train today. Would rather be asleep. /// Guard leaves with no warning or whistle from Surbiton to Waterloo after delay with sticky door. Passengers left behind! /// I will be asking for a refund today. Station staff at Salisbury couldn't give a monkey’s about us passengers. /// Yes, it did wait with the doors locked, we ran towards him asking to hold the doors! May I add we ran towards him, 5 people were turned away! /// 16.09 Waterloo –Portsmouth Harbour on platform at 16.07. After I ran from St Thomas’ Hospital for this service, rude guard shut doors. /// Please teach your ticket office staff WHY rules exist. Just had "can't sell you a Travelcard for Monday" barked at me with no explanation at Fleet. Cycled to the station and had to wait 25 minutes for him to come off his tea break. But he couldn't tell me WHY I can't buy a Travelcard for Monday until tomorrow. /// Late again. Crawling. No announcement. Guard failing in duty. Unacceptable. /// Got verbally harassed by a pervert who works for SWT at Winchester station, and people say we don't need feminism. /// Not only is it disgraceful, it is also illegal. How dare someone make an ignorant remark based on skin colour. /// Trains in the Eastleigh area have problems due to broken stock. Not clear all the ramifications. Take plenty to read on your journey tonight. [Response: This has now been resolved, it shouldn't affect your journey] You should inform [named member of staff] on the 16:30 from Southampton Central who is being too strict with customers displaced earlier. /// Are you that arrogant towards customers that you can't be bothered to apologise to me? Where do I complete a complaint form? /// Could your station manager at Twickenham be any ruder or more unhelpful? Refused to help carry a mum's buggy down stairs for her. /// I know the situation can't be helped but station staff being rude and unhelpful, doesn't improve things! Staff in London telling people to go to Woking for replacement bus, Woking rude with no clue about bus! /// Just received disgusting customer service from one of your employees at Winchester train station. /// I tried to board the train at Vauxhall but the doors wouldn't open. I went to move carriages but he shouted STAY THERE rudely. /// It was delightful of the SWT conductor to let a girl alone, in tears, get off a train at a rural station and wait an hour for the next one. Couldn't get off at Feniton. The train is longer than the platform, so only some doors open. Alone at Pinhoe, where I've never been and where I waited an hour in the cold for the next service. Very upset. [Response: I'm sorry the guard wasn't more helpful with information about the next train back. Can I ask which train you were on?] 1320 from Waterloo, he was not helpful about anything, he said I'd have to go on and then walked off. /// The lady ticket officer working at Wokingham station at apron 3.30pm was loud aggressive and rude to customers. Not what you expect when you are looking for support from staff. Not every customer is as knowledgeable as your staff, so to be spoken to in a negative way is not the customer service that your company should be presenting. Manners and respect cost nothing. /// Please can you tell your drivers to not close the doors after 20 seconds in rush hour. No one can get off and on in that time! /// Six staff standing around chatting and smoking at Staines barriers, you'd be better off getting them to fix your faulty trains. /// The ticket assistant was extremely aggressive, “you must pay”, treating me like a criminal, it was very unpleasant. Please don't treat your customers so aggressively - sorry not to have read your children's ticket rules, please be polite. /// Have been spoken to disgustingly on your 9:25 Waterloo train by a rude blonde train warden, ticket questioned and written all over!! /// The man was looking for his ticket in his coat in the rack and the guard said in harsh voice "Come on- you are holding everybody up'. /// I dashed on to the 1228 from Farnham to Waterloo with no time to buy a ticket. Guard has no ticket machine. [Patronising reply: Our revenue staff at Waterloo will kindly sell you a ticket if you explain that your guard had no ticket machine. /// Six SWT staff on quiet side of Walton-on-Thames this morning standing around chatting and having a laugh. Why?? /// Research post-traumatic stress disorder and see what effect shaking someone unexpectedly might have. Touching people is illegal anyway! Even worse is laughing at their PTSD induced startled reaction. [Unconcerned response: Sorry if our staff startled you. Our staff will wake passengers during ticket checks, sometimes calling gently doesn't work.] /// I thought characters like your ticket checker on the delayed 12.35 Waterloo to Bournemouth ended with the 3rd Reich? [Cheeky response: I've followed you, but if it's an essay you may wish to go via Customer Relations for a formal response.] /// Just been physically pushed by a member of staff of SWT. I wasn’t even over the yellow line.
Bloody disgrace at Feltham Station - no lifts working at 00.16. What's an infirm person to do, sleep in the station? [Response: Sorry to hear this. The lifts are only available when the station is staffed. When were you at Feltham, this morning?] On a train that arrived at 00.16. Station should be manned until 00.30 – according to your website. But why not until last train? A disgrace. [Response: I've looked into this; it appears our website information is out of date. But I take your point about last train, and will pass this on.] /// Need more ticket vendors at Aldershot/Woking early am. People should be allowed on platform before train arrives if not able to buy ticket beforehand. /// Why are the lifts at New Malden STILL not working? They were scheduled for March! Very difficult negotiating stairs with a buggy. /// Take care entering/exiting Fleet’s new car park. The turns are too tight, cars will get damaged on barriers. /// So only way I can pay to park at Surbiton station is to call and go through an automated process. I'm now late! /// Blind turn in new car park at Farnborough. Narrow miss tonight, accidents likely. Not even a warning. /// How is your investigation going into this? [Picture of passenger with ripped sleeve and badly scarred arm from contact with a sharp crush barrier at Sunningdale on 28.3.2014.] Last time I passed, it was still sharp. /// Just letting you know Bracknell ticket office, and passage through, shut early today. Got off the train from Reading at 19.02. Station normally open, not tonight. Side gate was open as normal, for later in the evenings. /// Queues out of station, kicked off train I finally caught mid-journey, thanks so much SWT! /// Is Oxshott ticket office ever open? /// Why is the disabled loo always locked at Ewell West station?? What's the point in having one? [Response: It will be open when the station is staffed, but locked to reduce vandalism during unstaffed hours.] /// Why are London bound trains from Barnes leaving from platform 2 this week? Is this permanent change? [Remarkable response: No, this is due foliage close to the line. We are looking to resolve this as soon as we can.] /// Admittedly, this was taken in March at Basingstoke station but should defibrillators be out of date? /// Broken gutter at Clapham Junction platform 12 creates impenetrable waterfall whenever it rains. When will it be fixed??? /// Are you ever going to fix the outrageous amount of huge pot holes in the Alton station car park? It's appalling! /// I struggled to exit and the stupid barriers you have between the platforms are a health breach. /// Why is Wimbledon station always a tip? Council keep streets outside clean despite crowds but you don't. Sort it.
Waterloo: four prepaid ticket machines and only one is working, with a long queue. Certainly defeats the object of pre-booking. /// [With picture] The dust is layered thick on top of ticket machines at Clapham Junction. [Second caller: Sure that isn't material? Looks too thick for dust!] It’s dust. /// Three of six ticket machines are broken and only one person in the ticket office at Woking station. Huge queue for a Sunday! /// Ticket machine at Liss not working properly. Tried 3 different cards, each time screen says 'card not recognised' and terminates transaction. /// Any plans to sort out the ticket machine at Oxshott station?? It processes so slowly I (and others) missed the train this morning (again). Was at the station 20 minutes before the train! [Unconcerned response: Sorry to hear this happened, during peak hours our systems do sometimes slow down due to number of transactions being made.] /// The ticket machines appear to be slow when processing card payments at Winchester station. I have reported this before. [Unconcerned response: The card payments slow down especially during busy peak periods.] /// Why have you stopped the ticket machines at Woking from taking credit cards? /// Still no credit cards accepted at Woking ticket machines! /// Ticket machine out of service at Shepperton. /// Please fix the oyster machines at Worcester Park station. Only 1 working is a shambles. Why can't ticket office top up? /// Please help the staff at Wokingham station. Two ticket machines out of service and 1/2 ticket staff out sick. Huge queues. /// Ticket office shut and machine out of order at North Sheen. I will now have to queue for ages at Waterloo to pay. Get it sorted please! /// I have a complaint regarding Wimbledon station, ticket machine kept £10. Am livid, what do I do??? /// I've just seen 6 people miss their train as they literally couldn't buy a ticket. You're trying to make money right? /// Ticket machines at Strawberry Hill don't work very well and there's no one behind the desk. /// Just lost £1.50 to broken vending machine on platform 4 at Woking. Not happy. How does one go about submitting a formal complaint? /// I'm sure that ticket machine at Aldershot was out of order last Monday too - give the revenue team a tool kit to give them a job. // Car park at Southampton Central, next to Platform 1: ticket machines not working yet again!! Seems to be a regular problem.... please fix. /// How much is a 1-day anytime Travelcard for zones 1-2 please? [Response: It should be £9.00.] Why are your ticket vending machines at Clapham Junction charging £9.20 then? [Response: This is a known fault that the team are working to resolve. Very sorry about this.] /// Ticket machine printed half my pre-order, half someone else's (with someone else's name and partial credit card number) – SWT seem unconcerned. [Response: It sounds like the previous customer’s ticket got jammed and has now come out in place of yours. Have you got all of your tickets?] I'm missing one reservation coupon. Other two tickets had print dates of 13 and 11 days ago which is weird.
Thanks SWT, now I know how sardines must feel, 5 instead of 10 coaches and not even an apology. /// You have a leaky carriage on the 1720 Waterloo to Wokingham. /// One of your trains/windows is leaking! Train departing today at 13:27 from Waterloo to Strawberry Hill, 7th carriage number 71690. /// Why are your toilets closed over half the time? Especially at weekends it seems. /// Bank Holiday Sunday. 1735 Waterloo-Southampton. Crammed. Twelve coaches, only 3 working toilets. You lot are a disgrace. You simply don't care. /// 2239 Waterloo-Reading .. No toilets ?!! Wasn’t on information boards or guards’ announcements. You nearly had people weeing in the bins! /// Over-packed trains - Southampton Parkway to Waterloo Saturday a.m. Couldn't get on so had to drive. How do I get a refund for my unused tickets? /// How about Brian Souter spares some of the millions he's taken from taxpayers so can afford to clean their trains? /// The 18:50 Waterloo to Reading service reeks like an open sewer. Do you hand pick train crew with no sense of smell? .32 Waterloo-Guildford. Shouting/banging window at Clapham for people in front of me to move down -nowhere to move, already squashed!! Instead of shouting at your customers, try offering the service paid for.. 4 carriages at peak hours is not fit for capacity! Poor planning and rude station staff.. Not a great mix.. /// Another Reading train with no working toilets, do they every work? /// Toilets on your 1953 Ascot to Guildford service are not working. This is happening a lot. This is very poor service. Guard told me it’s because they were not emptied overnight at Guildford. /// Why do you insist on blasting out disgusting air conditioning making journeys so unpleasant and unnecessarily cold, it's freezing! /// The toilet in car 2 of 2C54, Richmond-Waterloo, is flooded with foul-smelling liquid. /// 07:44 Gillingham-Salisbury; standing room only as train a coach short again, how much longer is this likely to happen? Has been nearly 4 months. /// Does anyone clean your trains - we haven't even left yet? Whole carriage looks like there's been a party. /// Now stuck at Richmond, train is dangerously packed, disgracefully dangerous, doors are stuck. /// My 7.46 from Malden Manor has the heating full on. When is it switched off as it is very warm? /// A man just fell boarding coach 77840 at Vauxhall, he's okay but nearly fell between the train and platform. Maybe check the flooring? He slipped on the wet floor inside the carriage when he landed his first foot inside the train (not on the platform). /// Just a heads that you might want to check for flats forming on 78271 (? I think) leading coach on 2N10 (4.456). /// To be fair it's more of a static caravan. Harsh on trains to label the 1728 from Guildford a train, and the train that was broken down and you kicked us off has now hurtled past, empty and in the opposite direction. /// Not helpful when air conditioning isn't working and we are roasting /// I'm on the 15.50 Waterloo to Reading and as usual the toilets are like cesspits. Do you employ cleaners? /// Temperature control needed on the 14:00 from Basingstoke to Portsmouth /// Meanwhile your trains remain filthy. Go to platform 3 and see a Woking stopper. Not been mopped since Xmas. /// Sending a four coach train at rush hour! Needless to say half of us can't fit on the train even as sardines. /// Why is the 6.24 to Dorking only four carriages? Can't SWT afford to run a proper service or more concerned re profit? /// No air conditioning on the 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth. It's crazy heat. /// Am in front coach. Horribly, horribly hot. As said before, like being in an oven. Can guard do anything? /// Your trains are so stuffy I just saw someone almost faint. Guard said air conditioning is broken, 4:12 from Clapham Junction to Bournemouth. /// 3.5 hour journey from Exeter to Clapham, bought a first class ticket and not even water available, no drinks trolley, disgusting. /// When you clean carriages on the Waterloo to Portsmouth line, can you instruct your staff that the toilet is worth doing too. /// Nice exposed wiring / electrocution hazard for kids in the toilet. On 7:46 West Byfleet to Waterloo. /// 1735 Waterloo to Weymouth. 100 degrees and nowhere to sit as per usual. The train guard’s absence speaks volumes. [Response: We can only repair air conditioning units at depots, not mid-journey. Now I know which coach is involved we can get this fixed.] Well, apparently it doesn't work between carriages (where we are packed like sardines) and guess what - someone fainted. /// The least you could do is turn the air conditioning on... This packed train is like a sauna. 18:15 from Waterloo. /// Oh, the joy of travelling with SWT Weymouth train, only five carriages, people standing. Absolute rubbish. /// Why do you only have plug sockets in first class? Us common folk need to charge our gadgets too! [Unconvincing response: This how they were designed; unfortunately we can't retrofit plug sockets to standard class due to technical limitations.] /// One baby change and it's out of order on the Portsmouth train from Waterloo. Classy, SWT, classy. /// Leaking carriage roof! Back-left of 62759, above window (windows were shut). /// Please let us know if the toilets aren't working BEFORE we get on the train!
Could you one day fix the issue that makes the ink fade so fast a year long railcard is unusable after 10 weeks? /// You can't just keep changing things for your own convenience. Think of us for once. [Mealy mouthed response: We are thinking of passengers, but often need to alter services to benefit some people at the expense of others.] Like who? The small minority travelling off-peak away from London? Rubbish. Stats. That's what you're worried about. /// I imagine that all SWT meetings start with the big question: "How can we possibly make our service worse?” /// Somehow your company still continues to shock me. Awful customer service at London Waterloo. Tell them to smile a bit!!!! /// Want to check this is not how the service should run. People getting stuck / closed in the train doors. And people being left stranded. /// Thinking of SWT as the most unreliable company in the UK: every day my train is late! /// Animals travel better than I did on the 1730 to Epsom. /// No information from SWT. Why do we pay such outrageous fares for this?! /// Inadequate and unacceptable service at Waterloo again this evening. /// You have to be the worst rail operator going. I think I could have walked quicker than the trains I've taken this week. Simply put, your London suburban service is a disgrace. Not enough carriages, those carriages overfilled or faulty. /// SWT are a complete mess again this morning. /// Thank you SWT on your wrong station announcement at Waterloo. Loads of people ended up at Surbiton on express. As your Dorking train is now so delayed, after making way back to Wimbledon I may as well take the bus. It's also not the first time it's happened to me, and others I know who live in Raynes Park. [Second caller: There's a reason they were voted worst train company in the country. Useless, overpriced company! But it's alright, I only pay £45 a week to use their cattle cars into Waterloo and only 1 hour late home! /// Disgusting. Is there another body, separate to SWT I can contact with my complaints? /// You've ruined my day. Delays this morning, cancellation tonight and trains inhumanely hot. /// SWT are a joke. /// Appalled by your lack of customer service lately. Trains have been cancelled/delayed on the Guildford line to and from Waterloo for over 2 weeks now and no remuneration or apology. /// Want to make complaint about 17.09 Effingham Junction service from Waterloo. Train doors were shutting while people were getting off. /// SWT the worst Sunday service in the country? Stuck on a delayed overcrowded train AGAIN. /// Disappointed at automated anti-beggar message on a SWT service. "Do not encourage them" - What a nuisance the destitute are, eh? /// I was waiting for the train to West Norwood, not the same one the man got on. I heard a loud noise and ran over to help other passengers trying to lift the man out from between the train and platform. Others did see what happened. /// If SWT were actually sorry for the endless delays, they'd offer me compensation. As they don't, I assume they're not. /// The shittest train service in the world at SWT. Late trains, overcrowded and no air conditioning, it verges on inhumane that you make us pay! /// I think SWT’s expectations and the public’s are two very different things! What doesn’t help is there are issues almost every week! /// On train from Waterloo and your train driver decided not to open the doors at Ashtead! Why?! /// Terrible service from SWT tonight - service half hour late with wrong information on platforms and no apology/explanation from guard. /// Terrible service this weekend. Two 10-minute trips on your service, two cancellations with no explanation then two one-hour waits. /// Would you mind advising if you plan on offering an efficient and punctual service from Wimbledon any evening this week? /// You are a joke and so are your staff at Vauxhall. How can you not know where the next trains are going? /// How long has my, just today, renewed SWT monthly paper ticket lasted before being rejected by the ticket machines? 9 hours.
Have sent you two e’mails regarding an issue, in the last two months and I have had no response. [Remarkable response: Our customer relations team are working on queries from mid-February, they will be with you in due course.] /// Shocking customer service from SWT this morning. Very rude and unhelpful on the phone - cutting the line mid-conversation is pathetic. /// Is this a record? It has taken 102 days to get a reply from SWT customer relations. Receipt acknowledged Feb 24th! /// Appalling customer service yet again! Got through to an agent for them to cut me off and now back on hold 15 minutes and counting; no compassion, no help, no ticket office to amend ticket at Honiton as shut yesterday at 6pm. Customer relations couldn't care less. /// E’mails, a letter, 3 phone calls and 110 days waiting... still not resolved. /// How long does it take to respond to complaints? No response - 76 days and counting. /// Just kept holding. "All our agents are busy please hold the line".. it’s been 30 minutes now! /// What do I need to do to get SWT to respond? They have no interest in customer service. /// No point with Customer Relations, it takes months. Staff are lazy and rude but you won’t give information. /// Good work as usual!!! Customer service shambles at Waterloo. Sort it out SWT! /// Are you going to have the courtesy to reply to my complaint? 3 months waiting. /// Still no reply to my e’mail, I guess you are just waiting long enough so you don't have to refund me my money? /// Tried to buy annual ticket and was told at Fleet company cheques not accepted unless ltd or plc. Not according to website! /// This is one of the worst train services in the UK - customer service is shockingly poor!! /// As there are delays coming into Waterloo I wanted more information about it and alternative services, but your team were abrupt and non-helpful when asked for alternative routes. /// I was told I would get a phone call about 4 days ago which has not happened. /// ‘Customer service’ or do you use the ‘**** it, ignore him, he only pays £146 a month’ attitude to all your customers? /// Legendary customer service yet again tonight... wish there was an alternative...
Guard on 1546 from Clapham Junction to Brockenhurst would not hold the train to allow wheelchair access. Disgusted. Guard said nothing he could do as passenger was at wrong end of train on platform 9, despite having ramp and customer assistance. [Disabled-friendly response: Unfortunately we can't always hold trains when this happens. I believe the platform staff is new, sorry for the problems.] /// Would you care to address this? Thanks to SWT for leaving me stranded at Vauxhall at 1am. I'm blind. /// Just witnessed a lady with crutches getting trapped in a train door on SWT. Surely the conductors meant to wait till everyone off?????
If I knew "fast" train to Pompey was all stopping I wouldn't have watched the "slow" train leave the station. Now enjoying the guard shouting very aggressively and unprofessionally down the tannoy at passengers. /// Would be nice for some kind of announcement at Earlsfield. Over 100 people waiting! No announcements or updates! [Remarkable response: Our system doesn't announce trains on London-bound platforms I'm afraid. Sorry for the delay, trains are on the move again.] /// Great for the guard to say we've two first class carriages and a buffet. Shame he can't explain why we're late. [Response: Can I ask which train you're on?] Why, so you can "pass on the feedback"? No, what's the point. Nothing ever changes, except the prices. /// The train I was on was announced as terminating at Woking, and yet showed as running to Waterloo at Haslemere and Guildford. And you can keep apologising all you want. Why not try fixing it? It's been an issue for YEARS, and you refuse to fix it. /// You know you're in the sticks when the rail service commences at your station and both ticket office and driver greet you! /// Now staff won’t tell us anything. Appalling. Even the driver has no clue. /// What the hell is going on with the 19:20 to Woking??? 20 minutes late, no announcement. But as usual your website pretends minor disruption despite many trains massively delayed. /// What has happened to the 1044 from Surbiton to Woking? [Pathetic response: It ran, but due to a fault with our information systems it didn't show properly on some station screens. Apologies for this.] It’s too late now mate, you've already made me late for work. /// This change was not made mid-journey. It was announced as soon as we set off. It was delayed anyway - why not just tell us?! /// HOW delayed are westbound trains coming into Vauxhall? Station providing no information and I'm unwell. /// Waiting for 19.57 SWT service at Hedge End. Boards say no train, app says train. Announcement says "train not stopping". It stopped. NOT SLICK. /// The cancellation WAS NOT COMMUNICATED TO PASSENGERS ON THE PLATFORM why???????? /// No information and no assistance on concourse, not one person. So, so, so bad customer service. Shocking /// At the moment I'm standing on a baking hot train with no information as to when it's due to depart. Some announcements would be good. /// Very poor communications for 11.24 from Southampton, 11 minutes delay but no announcements at all and train disappeared from displays at 11.31. /// Last minute platform change and incorrect announcements. Station master at West Byfleet says it happens around four times a day! /// So tell us that then! Instead you have four carriages of passengers getting mad at poor service instead of being sympathetic. /// After being directed to yet another wrong platform, I'm standing on a short-formation and overcrowded, hot, sticky train. /// Your display just gave me a heart attack! Wrong time AND wrong place displayed. /// Lack of information when there are delays is always an issue. Just watch people running from train to train. /// Across the board the way you handle and inform of changes cancelations - staff/twitter/ web/announcements/boards all wrong, all different. /// 30 minutes from Waterloo to Wimbledon so far. Still waiting outside station on train and no explanation offered - awful! /// My issue is not the cancellation, it’s the notification I received at 6:31 saying there were no issues when there were. /// Now running late for a flight, 25 minutes and still waiting for a train to Clapham Junction at Putney. Number of Gatwick Expresses missed: 3. Why didn't 12.34 stop at Putney? There was no announcement at the station and we saw it fly straight through.
Allowing people to board before cancelling it is poor service, especially due to staff shortage. Maybe you need more staff. /// Major fail tonight at Basingstoke, trains already delayed, now not stopping at Clapham Junction. For money paid that is a joke. /// How can you decide not to call at stations due to a delay? Do you not realise people are waiting and you're delaying them further! /// Hmmm...Cancel the 5pm to Portsmouth and reduce length of 5.30 to 8 carriages...it's going to end in tears....poor planning? [Response: Platform 7 at Clapham Junction is currently out of use due to a track defect. Some trains are not calling at Clapham as a result.] We went non-stop through 8 instead. Why not stop there?? [Response: Because this would lead to delays to other services behind, which can easily snowball into large delays.] But it was on time and due to stop there anyway!! /// 6.05 Waterloo-Southampton - late again and no reason given. /// Allowing half-empty trains to leave Woking, while hundreds of people are making their way off the footbridge!!! /// Mayhem at Godalming as SWT delay all trains, fail to ask through trains with empty seats to make a stop, then send a 5-carriage train. /// Turf everyone off a 12-coach train and make them wait 20 minutes for a 5-coach train. Appalling treatment. /// I’m at Woking. With about 500 other people. Two trains have run through. Two different empty fast trains ran through Woking in five minutes. You can't honestly claim one of them couldn't have stopped. /// Better not make Londoners 3 minutes late for work! People who want Fleet can be half an hour late instead. Is that really fair?! You can help by not cancelling the 8.43 Basingstoke to Fleet because it's a few poxy minutes late. /// On the very delayed 7.11 Havant to Waterloo. Will we actually run fast, or will we trundle behind stoppers and just not stop? [Response: You will run fast Haslemere - Guildford to try and make up time.] And then terminate at Woking. Thanks for that. This has been complete chaos and utter incompetence. /// Congratulations, third day in a row you managed to make me over 30 minutes late, Portsmouth to London! /// And now a completely empty train whistles through Havant station en route to Waterloo. Confused....? [Remarkable response: We would not be able to fit everyone on one train so are dividing up the stations that the trains will call at.] Doesn't normally seem to worry you! /// I love that you offload passengers and run fast at the merest sniff of an incident. /// Do your trains EVER run on time? Emergency trip to Exeter again and once again going at a pace my dead dog could beat! /// Will I be receiving a refund for the taxi I had to get from Cosham to Hilsea today? Disgraceful service as usual. /// Any reason the 15.45 to Windsor just went through Barnes without stopping? [Response: We're investigating this now, sorry for the inconvenience caused.] I’m on the 16.15. Would still like to know why the driver of previous train did not stop. Very worrying from a safety point of view. /// Why didn't the 1810 stop at Pokesdown when it came through on time? An hour’s wait for another one. [Response: There was a power supply problem, meaning the train was unable to stop. Very sorry for the delay.] /// And not stopping at one station will rectify this minor delay? I don't think so. Now the train I'm being forced to wait for is late. /// Thanks for randomly deciding not to stop at Walton. Now have to wait 20 minutes at Weybridge. You're a joke. /// Train from Waterloo cancelled; advised to take next service to Woking and meet cancelled service. It left before we arrived. /// The 08.41(ish) from Worcester Park - it ran straight through for 2nd day in a row! Now I have a 30-minute wait for my train, making my journey to University 2hrs. A repeat on yesterday. For consistency in dreadful service, ten out of ten. /// I'm guessing that is the train that whizzed past? [Response: It was, I'm afraid. Apologies for not calling at your station today.] /// Why is it whenever there is a problem the Kingston loop trains are always the worst affected? No trains for 40 minutes. /// Most outrageously delayed journey today, sort it out. 6 hours from Torre to Woking and train terminated at Woking, not Waterloo. /// Once again SWT are proving their incompetence. Not only have I missed an appointment I'm also sweltering on a train going nowhere. /// What is going on with your damn service? It's taken half an hour to get from Kingston to Raynes Park which takes 11 minutes. /// Handy when your train arrives early and leaves without you. /// 2015 to Haslemere cancelled and you have refused to stop at smaller stations with later trains. Why? /// Late to work this morning because of signal problems, late going back because of signal problems and you throw a broken train in too. /// Absolutely ridiculous. SWT up the creek yesterday due to signalling problems and again today! Come on people, sort it out. Brilliant. Now it's not stopping at Kingston. /// The train to Waterloo from St Margaret’s at 18.34 didn't arrive...where is it? And can I get my £1.60 back for having to tap in and out? [Response: It has already left St Margaret’s station, it did leave a few minutes early, however. I will look into this.] /// 06.16 Feltham to Waterloo now not stopping at the busiest station, Clapham Junction. /// A lot of angry passengers who pay your wages. Your decision not to stop a train at Dorchester South delayed 50 people even further. All timetabled trains stop at Dorchester. Just completely useless service from SWT this morning/the last week! 30min journey turned into 55mins so far and still a while away! /// 0934 delayed from Richmond today so you turn it into a Clapham Junction and Waterloo train only, with one exactly the same 2 minutes behind. /// Don't think people in my carriage appreciated being thrown against the seats, so maybe brake a little smoother in future? /// Any reason to cancel the rest of the service due to congestion, when the carriage I was in was virtually empty? /// My connection failed as usual. /// Yet another failure SWT, wasting our time again with your unapologetic, rubbish service and North Sheen broken trains. You are not fit for purpose. /// Thanks for letting us know that a 15-minute delayed train wouldn’t be stopping at Wimbledon, Earlsfield, Clapham Junction or Vauxhall. /// Can you improve the service between Southampton and Exeter via Salisbury, it's been shocking lately!? /// Train inexplicably late to Basingstoke, missed connection, many people late. Staff at Basingstoke could not care less. /// The driver forgot to stop at St Margaret's station; the 13:31 from St Margaret’s to Kingston. /// What's going on this morning? First two trains from Esher to Waterloo cancelled. People’s plans all over the place. Train after train after train have zoomed through. I just want to get to Woking. /// Anything at all from platform 11 Clapham Junction?? /// Nice one SWT. As the train’s "running late" you have kicked everyone off at Twickenham so it can run direct to Waterloo. /// Winchester to London Waterloo, the alleged 14:48? [Response: I can see it left around one minute early, I will report this to the controller. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.] /// We arrived 90 seconds before it was due to depart. Shame we are now isolated at an obscure station.
Trying to charge me ridiculous amount of money HALF A YEAR LATER over a £6.90 fare difference. Disgusting. Not only that, they never told me any action would be taken or give me a chance to pay the 'incriminating' £6.90 charge. /// Why did I bother buying a railcard when you can only use them according to the "discretion of the conductor"?! /// Accidentally tapped in at Waterloo for train to Esher, realised about 10 minutes into journey (usual journey is to Surbiton)... Couldn't find train guard to buy ticket before Esher - given £20 fine when I asked to pay for my fare at Esher... /// How many Advance 1st tickets sold for Saturday 17:20 Waterloo to Exeter service? 1st more crowded than standard class. Only a 3-carriage train too. /// Why don't you do delay repay like other Train Operating Companies? Maximum profit, no customer service.
Replacement bus service last night 22:52 from Bitterne to Portsmouth drove off without my friends, leaving them stranded... why? [Response: I'm not sure why this happened but I am sorry to hear your friends got left behind.] Not explanation we wanted. No details about bus and we missed last bus. Bus didn't even stop. £60 of unused fare! /// Last train to Guildford via Leatherhead terminated at Leatherhead for bus. Bus never came. /// Two staff saw me not allowed on the bus and offered me no help at all. And my phone ap was more useful than the useless ticket guy. /// My travel time London-Southampton doubled due to lack of organisation with rail replacement! I think all the angry passengers made it perfectly clear yesterday... Think I'll be taking the coach from now on... /// If there was a rail replacement service between Eastleigh and Southampton then why were we told there wasn't at Eastleigh station? /// Waited, but no bus appeared. Had to get a very expensive taxi. Very scary and unsettling to be stranded. /// I think the more pressing concern is why there are never any directions as to where the rail replacement buses are picking up.
Talking of ticket checkers.. last week two days in a row we had 8 at St Margaret's - why so many? /// Incredibly rude ticket checker at Claygate this morning. No appreciation that we are customers who spend £1000s per year. Spent too long tweeting SWT with no improvement. I give up... its a shame you can’t repair your staff, that send us from Fratton to Hilsea for a Waterloo train, when most didn't stop there! /// A complaint with SWT has been filled. Also want to file a police report as an off-duty PC is a witness. Need guard’s details. /// Asked him to look at my journey history to show I make this trip every day, so why would I not touch in at my station to avoid paying £2.50? 8:50am at Twickenham. Barriers open, so there was no way for me to know my oyster hadn't registered/was low on money. It definitely has money on it. /// Twickenham station staff most unhelpful. Customer service guy made no announcement, and walked away when I was asking a question. /// Could do with asking staff at Waterloo to spread out by barriers. Bunched in 1 area = hard to seek help when tickets not working. /// Horrible service at Guildford station by a rude, unhelpful SWT attendant. Ruined my day and made me late for an appointment! /// He was rude and unhelpful, not becoming of a service provider. A good customer service class to help him remember his problem isn't my problem maybe? /// You're a joke! Staff are so rude and blunt and nowhere on my educational season pass does it say I need to carry my photo card! He was so rude and blunt I was quite offended by his manners. /// Abysmal customer service right now at Waterloo by [member of staff named] Inconsistent application of rules + rude attitude= angry customer. /// He is so miserable ALL the time. I have needed a few new season tickets as they get demagnetised. Apparently it's my fault??? /// So glad to see customer services is alive and well. Gentleman manning Bracknell ticket office is officially miserable. /// Thanks to the officious Woking staff for stopping me getting train despite conductor in sight. What does 30 minutes more after 14 hours matter? /// 'Customer Assistance' man at Richmond watching while fellow passengers help someone feeling ill: Isn't that your job?! /// Thanks SWT for reducing my wife to tears and kicking her and my son off the train. Well worth her finding the guard to buy a ticket. // If a staff member is rude at a Waterloo ticket barrier, to whom do I complain? (Winchester trip) /// Said "thank you" to ticket lady at Hersham station. She called me "a rude sod" on tannoy; hadn't heard me because she was texting. /// Shocking customer service at Richmond station. Unhelpful, blunt answers and generally rude. /// Not sure your platform staff should be calling passengers ****** ****** or *******. /// Some of your staff are terribly rude. It's a shame that some are so helpful yet the odd few seem to forget you’re paying customers! /// Guard on gate by platform 5 at Waterloo being rude to those politely asking to go through. Name Steve, thought you should know. He said I didn't even try to use my ticket in the barrier and turned away in disgust. My ticket blanked this am, which I knew! I asked him not to be so rude and he said something really uncalled-for back so I asked for his name. He didn’t seem happy. Difficult to do justice to his attitude in a tweet. /// Lady at barrier trying to put her ticket into the slot where they come back out and SWT staff looking on, laughing at her. /// Debacle at Woking station. Man in suit from SWT runs to hide in his office. /// Stunningly underwhelmed at "couldn't give a toss attitude" of [employee named] on platform 19 ticket gates at Waterloo just now. /// The sooner you close your ticket office in Sunbury the better. Rude and useless. /// Someone needs to give the ticket chap at Swanwick a happy pill. Why so grumpy? /// I was running for the 2027 train and was tripped by a guard seemingly on purpose!! He then laughed at me. /// What are you doing to ensure that customer services by guards are consistent? Especially during disruptions, some guards helpful and others not. Not one single apology offered by guard for the delay or for no longer stopping at Farnborough. Poor customer service. /// Physically assaulted by a member of staff this morning, to whom should I write a formal complaint? /// Guard announced calling points but didn't even acknowledge our being sat at Bournemouth for 22 minutes. How rude! /// I'm talking about service from your employee - incredibly rude, gave a penalty warning and dropped the table on my leg! /// A late platform alteration and no time to use lifts to change platform at Clapham Junction. One staff member terrible. My wife now in agony, bursts into tears as train rolls away. After a motorcycle accident she's not mobile as she recovers. /// Worst customer service ever from your guard David on the 0919 from Clapham Junction. Call yourselves a public service? Not enough words in a tweet to explain how bad your service is. /// On the SWT train to Windsor & Eton, wondering how you managed to be "unable to locate a driver". /// Normally try and give SWT benefit of the doubt, but shortage of crew is just not on. Hope it was a genuine reason. /// How is temporary shortage of train crew an excuse?
Might need to rethink your access to platform 7. No direction signs, no board, no gate handles. I hope the gates at Wimbledon stop lots of suicides, but when trains stop there, open them! Missed a fast train because of this! /// You need to get your PA system at Eastleigh sorted, the last 5 announcements all drowned out by passing trains. /// Toilet facilities at your Poole station are appalling. Smelly, dirty and generally disgusting. Please sort them out! /// Can you please fix platform 4 screen, Putney station? It's been gone for months now. /// The gents toilets at Clapham Junction platform 17 are utterly disgusting. Filthy, graffiti everywhere, and no hand soap. /// Platform is pitch black at Fleet. No lights on half of platform 2. /// I'm at Wimbledon and the Bournemouth train came in on platform 7 which is locked off from public; bad mistake, need to sort this. /// Particularly huge queue for tickets on town side of Woking station this morning. Must be a better way to run a railway. /// This massive queue happens every month, both sides, guaranteed. Could do with a few more ticket booths. /// One machine out but queues are massive too. Seems a common occurrence now. /// Bike rack at Staines is ridiculous, why wasn't a new one built Gresham Road side, the side people actually use?? No spaces! /// Eastleigh ticket office closed - queues at automatic ticket machines. /// I got to Eastleigh at 7 and there was no one there. /// Any reason why booking office at Dorchester South is closed? It doesn't help that the ticket machine chip+pin isn't work either... /// Is Aldershot station closed for the night now even though they're supposed to be open until 21.18? /// Rather faded network map dated May 2013 on display on down side at Southampton station. /// Carnage this morning at Woking station! I am 2hrs late for meetings which cannot be rescheduled due to them being time critical. /// Please clean the ladies' loos at Cobham. They were new not long ago and they're stained, dirty and smelly now - such a shame. /// Thought I'd highlight to you the state of the toilets at Southampton Central as staff here not bothered! /// Are you ever going to fix the outrageous amount of huge pot holes in the Alton station car park? It's appalling! They are everywhere and so bad you cannot go over them without risking damage to your car. Whole thing needs resurfacing…… The potholes are fixed, progress at last! Although it looks like a botch job, by cowboy workmen. /// Six months pregnant and having the barriers close on me half way through, maybe you should try and fix that. /// The Ring and Go service offered me 'park for a few days' or 'park for a month' as the only two options. /// Wimbledon was chaos, more like cattle herding!!! /// Would've got ticket on train - not allowed through - should allow when machine broken. [Indifferent response: I'm afraid when machines are broken, you have to get your tickets from the ticket office to avoid penalty fines on trains.] It was closed and they wouldn't allow me through the barrier. /// Saw member of your staff turn round and tell a woman, "Why don't you look at the sign?"
Every day ticket machine takes ages to authorize card. Not just me either. All of queue in same position. /// Yet again missed train, despite being on time, due to slow ticket machines at Brookwood. Have I stepped back into the 1980s? /// Your ticket machine malfunctions, eats my money, and I don't get it back and have to pay extra for a ticket?? Not OK. /// It's very frustrating. And there's not always someone in the ticket office. Then the queues go back to the bridge! /// Oyster top-up function entirely not working on Brentford eastbound platform ticket machine. /// Please can you send an engineer to fix the ticket machine at Hersham? It takes for ever to do card transactions. /// Why, oh WHY can we not have a ticket machine on south-bound side of Worcester Park that's fully operational?? Can't top up Oyster today?! /// Please can the ticket machine at Hilsea station be fixed? Been out of service for 5 days with no other way to purchase tickets. /// It must be Monday morning again because Clapham Junction ticket machines aren't working! 19 minutes to top up my oyster!! [Unconcerned reply: Please use another machine next time, sometimes during peak hours the machines slow down due to no. of transactions.] /// I bought the ticket on train. Do ticket vending machines normally reject Scottish notes? /// How do I complain for failure of parking machines at Farnborough Main? Cost me £12 to park, I missed 2 trains, and was 30 minutes late for work.
The 18.21 from Hampton to Waterloo. The smell is horrid. /// This train is hot and stinky. The exceptional quality of SWT prevails once more.... /// Any chance of any extra carriage on the 1715 Waterloo to Exeter? Crowded would be an understatement. // Please can you stop the constant full volume announcements in the quiet zone on the 7:20 SWT service to Exeter? /// New one on me - call for 'Is there a doctor on the train' on a commuter service. SWT delayed, and hopelessly overcrowded and overheated. /// No air conditioning or openable windows on the 8.09 Twickenham-Waterloo. Condensation on my iPhone screen. Not good in rush hour. /// How is it that you have the air conditioning on the trains in the cold mornings, yet not in the warm afternoons? /// Is there any air conditioning available on the 16.35 Waterloo to Weymouth train? Pretty unpleasant conditions. /// It's Saturday. SWT put on a short train and so it's packed and hot. Usual 'foresight' from SWT. /// On 4.15 Waterloo to Woking = sweat bucket ... good idea to have the windows locked shut...not. /// Not content with the summer weather, SWT have the heating on in the 18.05 Waterloo to Bournemouth. It's hotter than Seville in here! /// Why does SWT play loud intrusive recorded announcements and then tell its guards to repeat the same information ad infinitum? /// We were sitting on our luggage in the aisles and in doorways. I really can't overemphasize how unsafe that felt /// Get some working air conditioning on your trains SWT. /// Can you please explain why the 35-past train from Waterloo to Weymouth didn't allow everyone off at Winchester? Closed by the guard with at least 10 people in carriage waiting to get off, someone nearly caught in doors. /// Awful that two 90-year-old men had to stand from Waterloo-Andover in the heat when they had purchased a 1st class ticket tonight. /// 17:59 Clapham Junction-Hersham; 8 coaches but too full to get on yesterday. 4 coaches today. Still too full. I've been delayed 30+. Delay Repay? /// On 5.20 train to Reading from Waterloo - hottest day of the year and no air conditioning. /// We are on 17.12 from Reading to Waterloo. Train needs a clean. Floor sticky mess, pull down tables also nasty. How often do you clean? /// Standing all the way from Clapham to Bournemouth on the train home was not ideal. /// Absolutely horrendous service this morning on the 08.16 Farnborough to Waterloo. People fainting as it was so cramped, and not a word from guard. /// A tiny 4-carriage train, at peak time, Waterloo to Dorking, meant there was literally no part of my body not squashed against a stranger! /// Broken seat on way up and now no air conditioning on way home. Pretty bloody rubbish for all the money we pay. /// So angry with SWT. Less carriages on a peak train to Richmond, it was so packed my sister’s feet and sandals got hurt by door closing. I expect SWT to reimburse her for her shoes which are now ruined!! Her feet now hurt from the door too! Terrible! /// There is no air conditioning on the 16.50 Waterloo to Reading, far too hot. Happened on numerous trains I have been on. Needs FIXING!!! /// Air conditioning, sometime this century? Please?? /// Not only is there no air conditioning on the Dorking train but the heating is on!!!! Smart move. /// I've been in the Caribbean for two weeks but SWT are hotter than the sun on train from Wimbledon to Waterloo. /// Your announcements in train are reverse and totally off. Lots of confused tourists. /// Why are four coaches closed on the 23:48 from Waterloo to Walton? No space for anyone to get on, let alone sit. /// A fire extinguisher just exploded in a young chap’s face on 5.28 Waterloo-Windsor. Passengers soaked. /// Commuting is made worse by knowing others are paying the same for a better/cooler service! /// Thank you for your invaluable advice re carrying water. But how to urinate on your trains with stuffed-up, overflowing loos? /// No air conditioning again on the Waterloo to Reading line? And all the windows again locked. £11.50 for a sauna to and from work. /// On the 19:02 Waterloo to Woking service and the air conditioning in the 1st carriage is blowing hot air. Horrible. /// 32 carriages per hour on weekdays (4 trains of 8 cars); weekend 8 carriages per hour (2 trains of 4 cars). 75% of fleet in maintenance at weekend? /// Your trains and systems fail constantly, and you appear to do nothing to rectify it. /// Absolutely ridiculous that both baby change toilets on the 1837 from Waterloo are out of order and guard is nowhere to be found. /// Having only 4 coaches on the 18:02 is a health and safety risk. /// Thanks for yet another **** journey home - your service is getting worse and worse.
Scottish independence Does Stagecoach want to have its shortbread and eat it too?
Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter is a principal donor of the SNP and has now promised to match up to £1 million of donations to the party’s referendum campaign. Yet, in Stagecoach’s report of its annual results, he warns that: “There is a risk that changes to the regulatory environment or changes to the availability of public funding could affect the Group’s prospects. Such changes may arise as a result of the outcomes of the September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence and/or the 2015 UK general elections.”
His position is probably not as odd as it seems. Gordon Brown has warned that people should forget the notion that an independent Scotland would be “some kind of northern light for a new form of social democracy” because Alex Salmond’s policies would not redistribute wealth or give Scots control of their economy. [Guardian 26.6.2014]
This seems pertinent to Stagecoach. Mr Souter and his sister have recently seen their joint wealth soar to £1 billion [Herald 12.5.2014]. The richest 10% of households in Scotland now have 900 times the accumulated wealth of the poorest 10%, according to a new Scottish Government analysis showing the scale of the country's "wealth gap". The study also found that 30% of Scotland's children live in households which between them own less than 2% of the nation's private worth.
The Scotrail franchise may be insufficiently lucrative to bother Stagecoach much. However, irrespective of the referendum result, we can reasonably assume that Mr Souter would want to command sufficient influence over an SNP government in Holyrood to avoid resurrection of its policy of re-regulating bus services.
Re-regulation should certainly be in the interests of passengers. Some of the best services in Britain are in the capital cities: London Buses (regulated by TfL); Cardiff Bus (municipal undertaking); and Edinburgh’s Lothian Buses (municipal undertaking). Compare Southampton, which has two major companies competing over the busiest routes, and five other companies picking at secondary routes which are in a constant state of flux, when they are operated at all.
Manston Airport – embarrassment over Mrs Gloag’s business hats
Manston Airport in Kent was bought by Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag for £1 in October 2013. She has closed it with the loss of 150 jobs, after rejection of a £7m bid from an American company which wanted it as a going concern. Mrs Gloag is reportedly interested in selling the land for a garden city, presumably for more than £1. A petition, with almost 8,000 signatures, is pressing Thanet Council to consider a compulsory purchase order.
You might think that public interest issues mattered more than which particular business hat Mrs Gloag was wearing. So this exchange in the Evening Standard is remarkable:
[29.5.2014] “It didn’t take long for Stagecoach to announce plans for a garden city on the site of Marston airport, closed a week before. On a railway route and 12km from the A2, Marston airport offers a ready answer to Heathrow’s woes. If it was reopened and cargo flights moved there, hundreds of Heathrow slots could be opened up and jobs aplenty created in East Kent.” John Rossetti.
[6.6.2014] “Contrary to the suggestion by John Rossetti, Stagecoach Group was not involved in any way in the purchase of Manston Airport. The airport was sold by Infratil to Lothian Shelf (710) Limited, an entity wholly and privately owned by Ann Gloag. No part of our company has any involvement in the airport or any decisions about its future.” S. Stewart, Stagecoach Group.
Isn’t Mrs Gloag still a non-executive Stagecoach director? And isn’t the rebuttal really about Stagecoach sidestepping negative stories in view of its failed bid for the Thameslink rail franchise, and current bid for a 90% stake in the East Coast franchise under the deceptive banner of Virgin Trains?
Numbers of serious safety failures on Stagecoach buses soar
Bus fires are generally rare and the number affecting Stagecoach buses appears increasingly disproportionate. Assuming our records are complete, there were 5 incidents in 2009; 9 in 2011; 11 in 2012; and 10 in 2013. There have been 8 incidents in the past three months alone. These figures exclude any arson or 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:
1. Woodstock Road, Oxford, blocked after bus fire, [Oxford Mail 2.4.2014]
“Two fire crews were called to the scene just before 6pm this evening to reports that the engine of a Stagecoach single-decker bus had caught fire. There was nobody on the bus at the time. The police are still on the scene awaiting recovery and there are long delays being reported in and around the area. Oxford Bus Company is diverting the Park & Ride 300 and City 6 services from Woodstock Road to the Banbury Road via Moreton Road. As a result they are unable to service South Parade, First Turn and Mere Road in both directions. “
2. Passengers escape injury as part of bus 'disintegrates' in Torquay crash [Herald Express 4.4.2014]
“Part of the top half of a Stagecoach bus ‘disintegrated’ after it collided with a shop canopy in Torquay’s Fleet Street today. Passengers escaped unhurt after the incident at about 8am. Shattered glass from the front and side windows of the upper deck of the double decker fell into the street. The canopy, above the Burger King outlet, remained intact but by lunch-time the area around it had been cordoned off just in case it became unstable. There were between 10 and 15 passengers on board the Number 32 bus when the accident happened. Matthew Pitocco, who runs the Toccos takeaway nearby, saw the incident unravel. He said that if there had been passengers on the top deck at the time they would have been ‘crushed and been ‘gonners’. He said: “The driver pulled over to let another bus pass. When he pulled back out he took out the canopy and the front of the bus just disintegrated. He carried on driving for a metre or so. Then he sat there for a couple of minutes. The passengers all got off and then disappeared. The canopy looks like it might fall. There are barriers around it now.” Fleet Street jeweller John Doble said: “The front of the bus was severed. If anybody had been at the top and at the front of the bus they would have been headless.”
A Stagecoach spokesman said: “We can confirm that, earlier today, one of our vehicles sustained damage to its roof after making contact with a canopy in Fleet Walk. The incident occurred in a location where, prior to the recent works, a safety bollard had been situated to ensure vehicles maintained a safe distance from the canopy. “No injuries occurred and a full investigation is currently underway.” “
3. Stagecoach denies links between burning Tayside buses [Courier 5.4.2014]
“Four Stagecoach buses have caught fire in Dundee and Angus over the last nine months, as did a National Express coach. The most recent incident was on Friday, when a Stagecoach bus went up in flames at a bus stop by the Fowlis junction on the A90 Dundee to Perth road, just minutes after dropping off a group of children. Less than a week earlier, a suspected electrical fault caused the number 20 bus from Kirriemuir to Dundee to catch fire.
Last September, another two Stagecoach buses caught fire within a week of each other. Dozens of passengers were on a bus in Monifieth when it caught fire on September 15. Three days later, another bus caught fire near Letham. It burned with such intensity that the road was damaged. A National Express coach caught fire in Dundee in March and dozens of passengers had to flee.
No passengers have been injured in any incident.”
4. Stagecoach confirms inquiry to take place into Marlborough High Street bus fire [Wiltshire Gazette and Herald 30.4.2014]
“Stagecoach has confirmed that an inquiry will take place into the dramatic bus fire in Marlborough High Street on Monday morning. The driver leapt into action when the engine of the Stagecoach bus caught fire outside Lloyd's Bank at 8.30am. He was unable to put the blaze out using a fire extinguisher so rang the fire service. There were no passengers on the bus at the time and nobody was injured as a result of the incident, although the driver was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation at the scene. The High Street was closed for almost three hours while the incident was dealt with.
Jayne Harper, who was walking through the High Street at the time, said: “It was like Armageddon, it’s not the kind of thing you expect to see before your morning coffee. People arriving at work were met with plumes of smoke as crews from Marlborough and Calne tackled the fire.” “It was a bit dramatic,” said Toby Hassell, store manager of Landmark. I was walking across the road and it was just a sea of fire engines, ambulances and police officers and I saw the diesel running across the road. I got here a little bit after the fire had been put out and we weren’t able to open the store initially so the fire service could do a dangerous gases check because of the smoke that had been emitted from the bus. Firefighters left the scene by 10.50am and the road was reopened by 11.45am.”
A spokesman for Stagecoach said: "One of our drivers was alerted by a fellow motorist to smoke coming from the rear of his vehicle as the bus pulled into a bus stop on High Street. Safety is our absolute priority. We will be carrying out an investigation into the cause of the incident.”
Diesel from the bus ran into the drains in the High Street which flow directly to the River Kennet with no cleaning process in between. Riverside resident Val Compton photographed the diesel spill, which in one place ran past the nest of a coot. Action for the River Kennet is concerned about the impact this will have on wildlife and is discussing with the Environment Agency whether volunteers can deploy oil-absorbent booms around drain outfalls to contain spills from the High Street in future.
Director of ARK Charlotte Hitchmough said: “This incident illustrates how vulnerable the river is to spills, pollution and run-off from the road. It is too early to tell whether the fuel spill will cause lasting harm, but it is a timely reminder that our road drains lead to the river, and whatever goes down them will end up in the Kennet.” ARK is asking people to report pollution by calling the Environment Agency Incident Line on 0800 807060 and telling ARK where the problem hotspots are by e’mailing email@example.com
5. Bus company leaves girl aged 15 stranded after ‘burning smell’ on vehicle [Herald 14.5.2014]
“A bus company has apologised after a 15-year-old girl was left stranded 50 miles from her Fife home when the vehicle she was travelling on broke down. A BUS company has apologised after a 15-year-old girl was left stranded 50 miles from her Fife home when the vehicle she was travelling on broke down. Stagecoach East Scotland has launched an investigation after Rosie Randall was abandoned in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.
The schoolgirl was returning from her drama school in Glasgow on the M80 when there was a smell of burning rubber and she was asked to leave the bus. After 40 minutes waiting on the hard shoulder a replacement bus took her to Cumbernauld where she was left on Saturday evening.
Her father, Phil Randall, 46, was left "angry and bewildered" when his "very upset" daughter called him to tell him what had happened. It took him 90 minutes to drive to collect her. He said:"I don't want an apology, I want assurances that something is put in place so that this never happens again."
A spokeswoman for Stagecoach East Scotland said: "One of our vehicles operating route X24 on Saturday evening suffered a breakdown outside of Glasgow. Passengers continuing to Fife were able to use the next journey. However it seems this was not communicated to these customers and we will proceed with a full internal review to improve these procedures. We would also like to apologise for any inconvenience caused." “
6. Stagecoach bus catches fire on Church Road, Abersychan [South Wales Argus 8.6.2014]
“A bus fire is causing delays to buses in Abersychan today. The Stagecoach bus caught fire on Church Road at around 11.30am and all passengers were led off safely. Fire crews say they believe the fire was accidental and a recovery vehicle has now taken the bus away.”
7. Passengers Evacuated After Bus Fire [wearebarnsley.com 9.6.2014]
“Passengers travelling on a Stagecoach bus had to be evacuated - after it caught fire. Smoke was seen coming from the engine and firefighters from Cudworth were called at 8pm on Wednesday. The six passengers on the bus, which was heading through Birdwell, were not hurt and crews left after 30 minutes.
[Blog comments: “It's not the first time, last year my partner and son were told to leave a Stagecoach bus because of the smell of burning, luckily they were nearly home.” Maria /// “This bus passed me as I was waiting at a junction, I couldn't believe it was still driving!” Emma]
8. Double decker bus completely gutted by fire on the M11 in Essex [BBC News Essex 12.6.2014]
“The fire service was called at about 10:10 BST to the northbound carriageway between junction 8 (Stansted Airport) and junction 9 (Saffron Walden). There were no passengers on board the Stagecoach bus and the driver was uninjured, the company confirmed. The fire spread to the embankment but was put out by 11:15. The carriageway was completely closed but has since reopened, the Highways Agency said.
An Essex Fire Service spokesman said when the three crews arrived the double decker bus was "completely alight" and the fire had spread to about 200m (655ft) of the motorway embankment. The flames completely gutted the Stagecoach bus. A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: "At around 10am today smoke was detected from one of our vehicles on the M11 heading north near to Saffron Walden. The bus was out of service at the time and had no passengers on board. The driver was not injured as a result of the incident. The fire service attended, however there has been extensive damage caused to the vehicle. Safety is our absolute priority and we will investigate the cause of this incident as a matter of urgency."
Motorists have been warned of long delays on the northbound carriageway. The plume of smoke from the burning bus could be seen for miles.”
9. Bus gutted near Warwick University [Coventry Telegraph 12.6.2014]
“Passengers had to flee from a burning double-decker bus near Warwick University in Coventry today. The drama began at about 9.20am when a female passenger noticed smoke coming from the back seats of the Stagecoach bus. She alerted the driver of the Unibus, who pulled over in Gibbet Hill Road and evacuated all seven passengers just as the engine burst into flames.
Firefighters on stand-by were sent to tackle the blaze, which had taken hold only 22 minutes after a 24-hour fire service strike had begun. Nobody was hurt but the bus itself was reduced to charred metal. Part of the road was closed and nearby university buildings were evacuated. Dozens of people watched as firefighters sprayed water and foam on the fire, which was emitting thick, noxious smoke.
The bus driver, a man in his late 40s, told the Telegraph: “It just happened all of a sudden - it was really quick. One minute, there was a bit of smoke, and then the next minute, the bus was on fire. It was really frightening. I had seven passengers, and I moved them away from the bus because the fire had taken hold at the back. A passenger had called out to me, saying there was smoke coming out from the back seats. Within seconds, the whole bus was full of smoke and we could see the flames.”
A fire officer on the scene - who didn’t want to be named due to the ongoing industrial action - said one fire engine and a rapid response vehicle were sent. He said: “We’re using foam to extinguish the fire, and the whole bus was involved in the fire. Bus fires are very rare, and it’s rare to see one fully affected by a fire - it depends on the heat of the day and the location. We believe it started within the engine compartment at the back. We expect to be finished within sixty minutes, when the bus can be towed away.” The fire officer insisted that his crew responded “Within the time required”, despite the strike.
Eyewitness Jonathan Hayden, a 31-year-old Bedworth man who was working on site when the bus caught fire, related what he saw. He said: “Small flames came out from behind the bus, then it just went up straight away. The bus driver noticed, and immediately pulled over and got everybody safely off the bus. There was a real atmosphere of panic to begin with.”
The brave bus driver’s quick-thinking was praised by Stagecoach bosses, who had immediately made their way to the scene. Jayson Smith, operations manager for the company, said: “The driver performed exactly as he had been trained to do. He can only be commended for making sure the vehicle was away from people in a safe location when he pulled over. He also made sure that all the passengers were off the bus before leaving himself, and immediately called 999. We have sent the driver home for the rest of the day. It’s too early to say what caused the fire, but we will be working closely with the authorities to ascertain why it happened. Our main concern is the welfare and safety of the passengers.”
A spokesman for Warwick University said: “Staff and students had to be evacuated from the social sciences building because of the thick smoke. Conference delegates at the university’s Radcliffe House conference venue also had to be evacuated.””
10. Dramatic Ardrossan school bus blaze caused by 'electrical fault' [Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald 27.6.2014]
“Stagecoach say the fire that destroyed a school bus on the A78 north of Ardrossan last Thursday was caused by an ‘electrical fault’ The bus was empty apart from the driver and one other occupant. Neither man – both Stagecoach employees – was injured but may have suffered some minor smoke inhalation. Three fire engines, police and an ambulance attended the blazing yellow double decker which was parked in a layby between the Sharphill and Chapelhill roundabouts. The interior of the bus – believed to be more than 20 years old – was totally destroyed. A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: "At around 4pm today smoke was detected from one of our vehicles on the A78 heading to Ardrossan. The bus was out of service at the time and had no passengers on board. The driver was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. A second member of staff was also on board and was not injured as a result of the incident. The fire service attended, however, there has been extensive damage caused to the vehicle. Safety is our absolute priority and we will investigate the cause of this incident as a matter of urgency."
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 Axminster, Clapham Junction, Basingstoke, Brentford, Earlsfield, Eastleigh, Fratton, Haslemere, Havant, Kingston, New Malden, Richmond, Southampton Central, Staines, Surbiton, Vauxhall, Waterloo, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Wimbledon, Woking.
New Groupsave rules Groupsave tickets now give 34% reductions to 3-9 adults travelling together, instead of only 3-4. Since larger ‘groups’ could divide (6 = 2 groups of 3 etc), this appears only to help groups of 5. Twitter revealed that SWT no longer provides these tickets from their machines.
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.
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