New Southeastern Journey Planner/Ticket Purchase website

20160115-ser1aYesterday Southeastern introduced a new journey planning and ticket purchase website. We are testing the site and we will be publishing our review shortly. We would appreciate as much early feedback from other users as possible please.

Particular issues to consider will include:

  • does the site always offer the cheapest ticket for your journey as the first fare quoted? (Amazingly the cheapest fares sometimes do not appear on rail industry websites.)
  • does the site clearly and fully tell you the conditions associated with the ticket and on which trains it is valid?
  • is it clear and easy to use?
  • how does it work for people with accessibility issues?
  • how does it compare to the previous version?
  • is the snazzy map – which takes up most of the screen – useful at all?

We need your feedback please! Please add your comments here


New Southeastern Journey Planner/Ticket Purchase website — 13 Comments

  1. I usually buy tickets online but not via the Southeastern site, preferring others which have incentives such as free day returns with a season ticket, and cashback, Nectar points, money back guarantee if not used etc for singles and returns.

    As with most aspects of Southeastern, the old site was uninspiring. It happily overcharged you if you first looked at a peak train but then happened to choose a later off-peak train: it would show only expensive Anytime fares for the rest of the day !

    However, the new site won’t tempt me to use it.

    One downside is that it seems to use many more pages and keystrokes than before – it’s hard work. I also object to having to register and remember yet another password: if it’s only a single or a return an e-mail address should suffice. Similarly, I strongly object to a phone number being required – I get far too many nuisance calls already !

    The map is a waste of time, slowing the site down and offering little benefit. In particular, the first map with the dotted line is highly misleading, showing a Sevenoaks to Charing Cross train going straight through Bromley, which it doesn’t.

    At least it spells out the Time of Day restriction a bit more clearly, and claims it won’t overcharge. But otherwise it’s mostly change for the sake of change, rather like the hard-to-read new ticket design.

  2. They haven’t migrated booking history across from the old system.
    Expected level of customer-friendliness there, then.
    Not tried anything else with it yet.

  3. @mike Thanks. The “favourite journeys” functionality on the old site was awful though. It required ticking an obscure box during the payment process, and rarely worked.

  4. Not so much favourite journeys (I generally don’t bother with them on travel booking sites) as the history of trips actually purchased – which is useful. Or rather, was.
    Unless it never had that and I’m thinking of Virgin Trains (West Coast division)

  5. @mike I have found the Purchase History on my account. Bizarrely it does not allow you to order the same journey/ticket again with a single click – you have to enter the whole set of details again. Not very well thought out – but Southeastern are often cavalier with customers’ time.

  6. I tried to book a ticket online, I wanted a Super Off-Peak Day Return. The new site makes you choose the exact time of the train you want to travel on in both directions. You don’t need to do this with this ticket so why is it making me fix a time?

    It used to say on the old site if you don’t want to travel on a specific train don’t select a time, now there is no option but to.
    I also tried to book 3/4 hour before I travelled and it said I couldn’t do it, I’ve always done it before on their site with no problems.
    I gave up and ended up having to buy my ticket at the station.

  7. My comment is similar to Terry’s comment above. I used to be able to buy tickets for a day out shopping/visiting, but now it insists I select an outbound/return journey time. So if I go out for the day, I have to be at the train station for a specific time each way. So if it’s raining and I want to come back early, I’d have to wait around in the pooring rain for my designated train.

    I tried to get an answer from SouthEastern on Twitter, but of course I’ve had no answer to my actual question. They suggested I buy an Anytime Single (for a Saturday Return), which defeats the object of having a Network Card. They then wanted to know exactly when and where I was going, which wasn’t my question and none of their business. I simply asked if I had lost the flexibility of taking a day out without effectively micro-managing my “schedule”

    I only book tickets on there once a month – does anyone know of any other website that doesn’t lock you in in this manner? Just hoping I don’t have to join the 20 minute queue at my station to get a ticket.

    I sent SouthEastern a question 2 months ago but never had a reply, so pretty much as punctual as their trains that dump you at Ebbsfleet late on Christmas Eve after waiting until you were moving on the train to say it had changed route.

    Does anyone else get as miffed as me at their incredibly bad customer service, or is it just me? Am I becoming a grumpy old person? Are we expected to get chucked off trains by the hundreds because they decide to change route mid-journey, and are we expected to have to use Twitter them because their website is worse than it once was?

    And why the map thing? If you’re going somewhere you’re going to know where you’re going otherwise you wouldn’t be booking a train there. What a waste of a highly-paid web developers time. I know the tickets have changed to micro-print (Lord help anyone long-sighted), but I’m guessing that’s a National Rail thing, and for once something that Southeastern haven’t screwed up on their own.

    Why do I have to complain just because something doesn’t work correctly? If things are supposedly moving forward why do I have to complain that they’re not? It’s upsetting…..

    Ooops – here we go – 3 hours later but here we are. A Tweet – “Yes. The times are there for your reference but your ticket is not restricted to that service. ^CS”

    3 hours to buy a ticket. Thank you SouthEastern…….

  8. @Paul – no, you’re not getting grumpy.

    Southeastern’s customer service (sic) has plumbed new depths of late, and as you’ll see elsewhere their public- (and rail-traveller-association-) facing staff will tell you they’ve checked something and it’s definitely, 100%, absolutely correct and we’re definitely wrong. And then give a weasel-worded non-apology when found out to have been economical with the actualite.

    Thank heavens there are other people with a better attitude within the company; shame their good work has to be buffered by this.

  9. Good afternoon kind people,

    Just to let everyone know that I took the plunge and bought train tickets online. I emailed Southeastern (No response, as expected), signed the petition online which according to my MP has no effect, and have kept the fair owners of this website informed accordingly. I collected my tickets at my local station and thankfully it doesn’t mention anywhere specific journey times, and looks just the same as normal. I am so glad. We have two types of ticket machines at Gravesend – one the traditional/regular size of a red platform vending machine, and the other the size of a cash dispenser you’d find in a pub. I used the smaller one as no-one likes to use it, so figured I wouldn’t hold up the queue. So I don’t know if it plays the same on the regular ticket machine or not. But, for me, it seems that even though you are forced to select a journey time online, the ticket that is dispensed is the regular ticket with no schedule stipulations printed on it unlike an advanced purchase super-bargain ticket.

    It does seem though that Southeastern are trying to get people to buy more expensive tickets than they need, and that is the issue that needs to be addressed. I’ve taken a picture of the ticket for your reference, but unfortunately I can’t seem to post it on here – although I’m happy for anyone to see the ticket for themselves. I’m sure the kind peeps on here would oblige if needed.

    To be fair to Southeastern, neither Red Spotted Hanky nor National Rail did anything different than Southeastern’s new version on their website booking thingy either, so maybe it’s a national issue and not just here. Or maybe I’m just soft…..

    May I take this opportunity to thank the people that run this website, and all those concerned passengers like me that have been baffled by the “new and improved”(?) Southeastern website. I am looking to see if my crystal ball can be upgraded to Vision 2.0 and maybe trepaning can allow me a greater magical insight into those dark hidden secrets that is, Southeastern Railways……….

  10. Oh, and supplemental to my message above, I tried to log in to my Southeastern account, but to no avail. My thought was to just re-do a previous saved journey. I clicked on reset my password, but it didn’t recognise my email account. I asked it to reset my passsword but it got rejected, yet some time later it sent through a bunch of emails to reset it, even though their website “computer says no”…. Baffling. However, I managed to log back in but there was no reference to my previous journeys, so that seems to have been lost too.

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