A survey of Southeastern passengers from the Sevenoaks area has found that many are suffering as a result of the new timetable:
- Over 40% almost always have to stand – and 14% sometimes find trains too crowded even to board
- 47% say that they have felt personally threatened by the overcrowding on trains and on stations.
- 66% say that they have seen arguments, scuffles or other tensions among passengers – and 22% say that they see this frequently.
- 78% – nearly 4 in 5 – say that they think Southeastern are doing a poor job, even after allowing for the constraints of London Bridge rebuilding.
The Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association consider that the survey shows the need for urgent and specific action by Southeastern and by the Department for Transport:
- Southeastern must publish the train formations and capacity available, and the actual passenger loadings, train by train and week by week. This would allow passengers to find trains that are not as overcrowded, and inform adjustments to train planning.
- Southeastern must improve passenger information at stations and on trains – less than 1 in 6 passengers say that they have seen any improvements so far.
- Southeastern need to demonstrate that they are prepared to listen and act to the views of their customers. At the moment 82% of passengers – more than 4 in 5 – doubt that they will do so.
- Southeastern need to win the confidence of their passengers – only 1 in 5 of whom think that they are doing a good job. From top to bottom Southeastern need to radically overhaul their customer relationship and respect the people who pay them.
- the Department for Transport needs to knock heads together on wider rail ticket acceptance on TFL services. Less than 5% of passengers are using the current, limited, ticket acceptance in London. Yet over 1 in 3 of passengers say that they might change their route if SRTA’s wider acceptance proposal was adopted, and nearly 1 in 5 would probably do so. That’s the easiest way to use the spare capacity reported on the Charing Cross route.
- Southeastern say that the high fares reflect the high quality of service we get. With 40% of our respondents now having to stand and nearly half having felt personally threatened by overcrowding where is the fare reduction or compensation that Rail Minister Claire Perry said she was considering?
- In awarding the new Franchise to Southeastern Rail Minister Claire Perry said that this would be a “Fresh Start” with new “tough targets”. 75% of respondents say that they have not seen a Fresh Start so far. The Department for Transport need to make Southeastern deliver on the Rail Minister’s promises to the region.
Commenting on the survey results, SRTA Chairman Tony Clayton said:
“These results show that on current plans widespread passenger misery will continue for three years. People understand the constraints of the London Bridge Rebuilding and have been amazingly tolerant so far. But Southeastern and the Department for Transport need to show that they are prepared to listen and act to the rising anger of rail customers.”
The detailed results of the survey are on our website.