Southern Rail responds to commuters who feel like ‘animals to the slaughter’

A railway train of operator Southern at Hampden Park on the Brighton to Ashford Inernational route. Dec 2nd 2013 E49226P SUS-150218-180821001
A railway train of operator Southern at Hampden Park on the Brighton to Ashford Inernational route. Dec 2nd 2013 E49226P SUS-150218-180821001

Southern Rail has said ‘railway is even more popular than ever’ despite commuters comparing themselves to animals going to the slaughter.

The company made hundreds of changes to its timetables last Sunday which included the removal of the 7.20am from Haywards Heath to Victoria.

This has caused commuters to claim more of them are having to stand on the alternative services and they have made their anger known through social media.

Simon Wilson post on Facebook and said: “Animals travelling to slaughter get more room by law than most people get travelling during peak times in over crowded trains.

“Surely Southern know how many people travel on average during peak times and should provide the correct amount of rolling stock rather than maximising the profit made on a journey”

Rhod Sutton shared his letter of complaint to Southern Rail, on the same site.

He said: “Your stated aim for cancelling this service and alteration of timings of others is to provide better punctuality for customers. What you really want to do is avoid fines and compensation for late running services, which has directly impacted customer service; trains continue to run late, are cancelled and now overcrowding is further exacerbated.

“...Punctuality is not the only measure of customer service and the comfort of passengers must also rank a high priority. The rolling stock is not designed to facilitate standing.

“What is the policy of Southern Rail for carrying passengers at speed whilst standing in rolling stock not designed for standing passengers?

“If you cannot provide a good service to commuters - who make a major contribution to the revenues of Southern Rail - relinquish the franchise to a provider who can.”

John Wellington agreed, adding: “Since its cancellation up to 700 people have been forced onto the already overcrowded trains either side. No chance of a seat.

“I wrote to Southern and got back a feeble standard response about ‘performance statistics, passenger loading data, carriage demand and connection support information.’

“I agree I would much rather face an occasional delay of a few minutes than have to stand up for more than 170 hours a year which is the duration of my morning journey.”

But a Southern Rail spokesman said ‘the railway is even more popular than ever, with passenger numbers growing year on year’.

He said: “We have introduced new train fleets during the current franchise to meet this growth, providing a total number of additional carriages on our network to 227 – resulting in a net gain of over 10,000 extra seats across the network.

“This has provided some much needed relief to thousands of our passengers who now have a more comfortable journey.

“The decision to start the 6.56am Brighton to London Bridge service from Gatwick Airport was one of hundreds of changes made to departure times and calling patterns in the new summer timetable. These changes are designed to improve punctuality performance – something that we know is very important for our passengers.

“Looking ahead, the £6.5 billion Thameslink project will enable the introduction of more new trains on the Brighton Main Line, further increasing capacity.”