An Otford dilemma: is buying a ticket worth an hour’s extra wait?

21061130-thameslink-logoSRTA Supporter Babette Wood writes from Otford:

The City Thameslink Service from Otford has been completely unreliable in November.

To add insult to injury Southeastern are issuing penalty fares to people who are left in the predicament of either jumping on a train that appears at the station at unpredictable times (usually late with the normal train cancelled) without a ticket, or buying a ticket for a cancelled train.

I think that the rule that you have to allow five minutes to buy a ticket should not apply if the trains are not running to a predictable schedule. I had allowed fifteen minutes to buy a ticket; but my train was cancelled and the only train that was operating appeared out of nowhere at 8.20 leaving me with no time to buy a ticket. It’s a no win situation. You either pay a penalty fare or you wait at the station for 1-2 hours until the next train shows up.

What’s been your experience of the Thamelink service recently? What do you think about Babette’s suggestion? Please let us know here.



An Otford dilemma: is buying a ticket worth an hour’s extra wait? — 4 Comments

  1. I think the use of any Penalty Fares during a period of delays is unreasonable. If the rail company have messed up a journey then I think it’s perfectly reasonable for a customer to use any reasonable route to complete their journey. For example, for many Dunton Green sufferers (I think customer is the wrong word) it is often easier, quicker and safer to continue through to Sevenoaks when many Metro services are cancelled at Orpington (so don’t call at Chelsfield etc). They would then either hop on the next Metro back or exit the station to grab a taxi (at their own expense as Delay Repay doesn’t make it easy to claim that cost back). The staff at Sevenoaks normally seem OK about it but if this has changed then that is a very poor show.

  2. Otford is horrendous. Usually aim to catch the 0737 or 0757 to Sevenoaks in an attempt to change onto fast Canon St service. Both trains are either late or cancelled. Live departure boards change constantly but they are normally at least 5 mins late meaning connection is missed. Sometimes the website shows different times to screen in waiting room, which is different again on the platform. Very poor service and no one to complain to!

  3. Thameslink’s performance has been extremely poor recently. In November 2016 alone I have submitted nine Delay Repay claims to them. However; there were many other delays that did not hit the thirty minute delay to qualify for compensation. Thameslink frequently cancel trains between Bromley South and Sevenoaks sending trains fast via Orpington to make up time when services are delayed. This happens in both directions. I think that this demonstrates that they are not interested in passengers using their services at stations between Bat & Ball and Bickley inclusive. This is disgusting and insulting and I would like to think that the Rail Regulator and our MP, Sir Michael Fallon, will take this issue up with the Thameslink management.

  4. Have to agree that whatever Southeastern’s failings its performance is much better than Thameslink. l work a stones throw from City Thameslink and would put up with the longer journey if the service was reliable. However services are regularly disrupted due to power supply and staffing issues. Service on the line has deteriorated since it transferred from Southeastern several years ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.