Should Southern Cancel Services Due to Graffiti?

Southern Graffiti Cancellation

This morning the only direct train (7.01) from Shoreham-By-Sea (SSE) to London Bridge (LBG) was cancelled.  Southern’s Twitter team cited their “zero-tolerance graffiti policy” as the reason for this cancellation.

Should this cause a train to be cancelled? Read more…

Southern’s Delay Repay Site Still Not Warning Passengers About Automated Barriers

southernIn March I wrote to Southern asking them what their procedure is for reclaiming Delay Repay if you had a single ticket and it was taken by the automated barrier at the end of your journey.  I previously published their response to this question.  Read more…

Has Southern Just Reduced Its Delay Repay Bill?


Southern has just introduced a new timetable.

The 7.29am service from Brighton to London Victoria, which has been called the worst service in Britain and the “train of shame” after failing to arrive on time for an entire year, has been adjusted to arrive 3 minutes later at 8.38 instead of the previous 8.35.  So, passengers still stand no chance of being there at 8.35 and have the “pleasure” of a longer journey.  Read more…

Penalty Fare Appeals Consultation: My Email to the Department of Transport

Penalty Fare

I wrote to the Department of Transport (DoT) as I was concerned their proposals to overhaul the Penalty Fare appeals system did not go far enough.  Based on my own experience during 25 years of commuting, plus anecdotal evidence sourced from consumer programmes, radio phone-ins, comments on social media, Passenger Focus’s Ticket to Ride report and tales friends & acquaintances have told me, I believe that rail companies often treat passengers very unfairly.  Read more…

Constructive Meeting With Southern About Connecting Services to Seaford

Train - Smaller (500x375)For the past 6 years I have been complaining to Southern about missed train connections at Lewes en route from London Victoria to Seaford. Following a proposal from Passenger Focus, Southern was kind enough to arrange a meeting with their Head of Train Planning and one of his colleagues from their communications department.  This meeting was very constructive.

Read more…

Southern Connecting Services That Fail to Connect

Train - Smaller (500x375)It’s a dark, gloomy January night.  Commuters sitting on the train from London to Lewes are anxiously looking at their watches as the train is once again running a few minutes late.   Finally, and with frustrating slowness, the train eases its way into the platform and, after a brief delay, the little button lights up to indicate the doors are unlocked.

Read more…

Train Journey Delayed: Claim Via Delay Repay

Train - Smaller (500x375)

A number of train companies run a scheme – usually called Delay Repay – to compensate passengers whose journey has been delayed.  Read more…

Southern RPOs Have a Financial Incentive for Issuing Penalty Fares

A worrying article in the Guardian suggests that Southern’s Revenue Protection Officers (RPOs) may receive up to 5% commission for charging penalty fares. In their response quoted in the article Southern appears to have confirmed that this is indeed the case.

This is very worrying, particularly in an profession that, as far as I know, is unregulated.  Read more…

Southern Seems to Expect Passengers Forced to Board Without Ticket to Hunt the Conductor

southernA little while ago Consumer Lookout drew attention to the lack of ticket machines at some local stations and how some conductors and penalty fare officers seemed to think that in such circumstances it was up to passengers to go hunting for the conductor to buy a ticket. Passenger Focus and I both asked Southern the following question but failed to get a clear answer.  Read more…

Southern Refuses Passenger Focus Request to Improve Identification of Conductors

southernConsumer Lookout has previously drawn attention to the increased risk of crime with smart/contactless ticketing on trains & has highlighted concerns about Southern’s apparent reluctance to prevent crime on trains by ensuring their conductors ID clearly out on display.

Passenger Focus approached Southern to ask them to make sure that conductors are issued with photo IDs and are instructed have them on display .  Disappointingly, Southern has declined to do so. Read more…

Southern Forces Passengers to Board Without a Ticket

southernMy local train company Southern has a “buy before you board” policy.  However, at a number of stations, e.g. Bishopstone or Southease, there is no means to buy a ticket, either in the form of a ticket office or a machine.

Concerned that a lack of ticket purchasing facilities may lead to passengers be charged unfair penalty fares, so I asked Southern to install at least one ticket machine there.  They said no, citing limited resources.  Read more…

Why Does Southern Seem Reluctant to Protect Passengers From Crime?

southernIn a recent post I highlighted potential crimes that could be carried out by criminals posing as ticket inspectors on public transport, e.g. theft of credit stored on smartcards or bank details stored on contactless bank/credit cards, theft of personal data from smartcards and contactless cards, sexual assault of vulnerable passengers at quiet stations. Read more…

Tips for Avoiding & Dealing With Unfair Penalty Fares

How ToBefore Travel

  • Buy a ticket before boarding the train if there is any working facility to do so.
  • Purchase a Permit to Travel if there is a machine to do so.
  • If you cannot purchase a ticket:
    • Photograph the station where you board.
    • Photograph any error message on a broken machine.

Read more…

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