Rail shame ‘is customers’ fault’

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A survey by Which? magazine has found that more than a quarter of train travellers in Britain are hit by delays, with passengers on Southern Railway experiencing the worst hold-ups. Southern, which runs the Marshlink service between Ashford and Hastings, was also involved in more delays than any other company in the survey, with four in 10 of their customers saying they experienced a delay the last time they travelled with the company. Southern is infamous for running the 7.29am Brighton to Victoria “train of shame”, which was late every day last year, the worst train in the country for delays. It is the company that will run the HS1 extension from London to Hastings, which is being heavily promoted by local MP Amber Rudd.

Meanwhile, on Southeastern, which runs trains from Ashford to London, including the high speed train to St Pancras, nearly a third of passengers experienced delays and the company was ranked third worst in the country. Two thirds of passengers surveyed said they were dissatisfied overall and would not recommend the company to a friend. Southeastern finished joint bottom of the Which? survey for passenger satisfaction. It was also given just one out of five stars for value for money.

According to London’s Metro newspaper, Southeastern blames its performance on its customers. It quoted a spokesman for the company saying it was prone to perform badly in passenger surveys as “it takes people somewhere they don’t want to be with money they don’t want to pay”. After being slated for raising fares by an average 2.8 per cent, the spokesman also said the company would get higher ratings if surveys were carried out on a “sunny summer’s day”.