Southern Rail’s breakdown in co-ordination and customer service leaves passengers frustrated

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I am not sure if poor customer service from Southern Rail still counts as news but I thought I would let you know about an incident at the weekend in case you didn’t know already.

I went up to London for a meal on Saturday evening. I got the train back from Victoria early on Sunday morning. The 12.02 was delayed and finally left at around 12.20, we were told this was due to issues with the train on the journey into London.

As expected the train terminated at Three Bridges and passengers headed to the car park to get the rail replacement bus services to continue their journeys.

A bus turned up and took all the passengers heading directly to Brighton. This left 20 plus people queuing, in the rain, for a bus to Haywards Heath and a couple of people queuing for a bus to Lewes.

Another bus turned up, this bus though then turned off its engine and the driver turned off the lights got out and locked up the bus.

At this point, the crowd control person from the Go-Ahead bus company said that there were no more scheduled buses until 5am and that Southern staff had not been co-ordinating with them and he hadn’t been able to contact any Southern staff for over 30 minutes.

He advised everyone to try to get taxis to their final destination. I went into the station and could not find any Southern staff on the main concourse or in the ticket office (I did not go up onto the platforms), at this point I and other passengers decided to share taxis and left the station.

I have no idea what happened to the trains that were due to leave Victoria at around 1am and 2am, when they got to Three Bridges.

I think this lack of co-ordination and breakdown in customer service is particularly worrying five days before Southern institutes rail replacement bus services for nine days in a row.

I rang Southern and was told to email comments@southernrailway.com and expect a reply in five to ten days regarding a refund for the taxi I paid for.

As an aside, I met with Sir Nicholas Soames, my local MP, in December to complain about the poor rail service (my train to the meeting was delayed) and his lack of action on this.

He told me that I should be happy that services had improved and said he would send a copy of the Parliamentary Select Committee on railway timetable changes.

I am still waiting for a copy of the report and a consistently good service from our railway company.

As I said due to the frequency of issues with our monopoly railway supplier this may not qualify as news but I thought I would let you know.

Alexander Kenney

Gander Hill

Haywards Heath

Editor’s note: The Middy approached rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway for a comment but did not receive a reply by the time of going to press.