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September Southern Timetable changes
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Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2015
Post: #1
27-09-2022 12:39 PM


I did attend the zoom call with the Southern people last week. I wanted to ask why my journey from Honor Oak to Brighton on a line originally called the London to Brighton line has gone from 58 minutes with one easy 10 minute change, to two or three changes, with a minimum time with three changes of 1 hour and 34 minutes, even if those tight connections were met, so more likely over two hours each way.

Southern came up with all sorts of PR about ridership and revenue gaps, and hoped we would not realise they are on a cost plus guaranteed profit for no risk model, with revenue going to Treasury. Its clear they intend to have only two trains into London Bridge, with regular cancellations like last night so my other half waited almost an hour, to force people onto the OverCrowdedGround, and then they will say we cant run the two trains as no one uses them. We will be the only part of Zone 3 with non direct and convenient access to the centre of the City.

I followed up with this email to Vicky Foxcroft on 15th September:

Dear Vicky

Thanks very much to you and your team for arranging the meeting with Southern and for your time yesterday.

It seems clear that they wont change anything and will of course make decisions that prioritise profits over service.

Ignoring all the PR nonsense around ridership, which conveniently averaged out the usage across a week and ignored the new reality that Tuesday to Thursday trains into London are almost as busy as pre pandemic and more packed as service and length halved (so quarter capacity), and the absolute red herring of revenue which goes straight to the Treasury, I had some questions to follow up please.

Perhaps you could ask the Secretary of State for Transport (whoever that is these days!!!) to comment on the service deprivation:

1) Did the Department reduce Southern’s SNCF profit subsidy (or whatever PR term they use for it) and by how much? I think Southern have had a strained relationship with statistics over the last 20 years based on my passenger experience so I would prefer to hear directly from the Department what numbers are involved.

2) Did the Department specifically mandate that Southern run only two trains an hour from your constituency to London Bridge, and that a journey on the direct London to Brighton railway mainline should now involve three changes and take almost two hours? Or did the Department make a general cut and then Southern made the decision to discriminate against your constituents as one of the other call attendees identified? This is crucial to understand who made the key decisions and who needs to be lobbied for change.

3) Did the Department and/ or Southern consider their responsibilities to make reasonable adjustments for disabled users under the extant law (I believe it’s the Equality Act 2010 now) when unreasonably introducing extra changes where there are no lifts, and increased dependency on station staff being available and correctly getting the message that they need to deploy the ramp to help wheelchair users exit trains? My own Mum will now struggle to visit me in Honor Oak Park because of Southern trains profit driven decisions.

4) Did this excuse of a railway operator consider that Gatwick airport was built to serve South London and now there are two changes involved to get there, including changes with no lifts as above? I cant imagine Gatwick will be too happy to hear that its now easier for us to get to Heathrow!

5) Did this operator consider that due to poor reliability, all these tight changes have a high chance of being missed and a passenger being delayed upto another 30 minutes minimum.

6) Can we get a cast iron guarantee from the Department that they will not sanction Southern’s likely long term plan to abolish all our trains and force us onto the OverCrowdedGround with its terrible interchange in Zone 2? There really is some awful tension there in morning peaks as people squabble to get down the only escalator (I always go up and down to avoid this as its so tense, but most don’t do this or don’t think to do this).

Some of your other constituents made excellent points about chicken and egg, and what is the point having a smaller house in Zone 3 with a worse train service than you can get further out. I stand by my observations that this enterprise seems to think its a great private company, constantly promising innovation and improvements for 21 years, but seems to make profit with worse service and with zero risk guaranteed by the taxpayer from a monopoly. If its really that hard for them to make "difficult decisions" then they should hand the franchise over to the Operator of Last Resort, which seems to have worked well elsewhere for unfathomable reasons to do with serving customers rather than shareholders.

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RE: September Southern Timetable changes - Riseldinecommuter - 27-09-2022 12:39 PM

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