LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, Sarah Owen, is demanding that Southern and Southeastern give 100 per cent refunds to season ticket holders who have faced severe disruption to their journeys.
A series of landslips on Southeastern’s Hastings to Charing Cross line and Southern’s Hastings to Bexhill, Eastbourne and London Victoria line has caused chaos for hundreds of passengers.
Both train companies have a Delay Repay policy and currently season ticket holders’ compensation is calculated in proportion to the daily cost of their ticket, but neither company offers a full refund.
Commuters using Southeastern have been forced to use a rail replacement bus and have faced ongoing disruptions to their journey
Ms Owen said: “A rail replacement bus is not the service train passengers have paid for. Southern and Southeastern need to go out of their way to compensate passengers for this disruption. Network Rail have questions to answer over their handling of this situation and I have written to them, but rail companies also have their obligation to provide the service that has been paid for. Passengers are already getting a raw deal with huge increases in fares, so train companies need to go above and beyond their normal levels of customer service.”
The Labour candidate, who has written to the chief executives of Southern and Southeastern, is concerned that passengers are not being adequately compensated despite facing significant delays.
The line between Robertsbridge and Wadhurst has been shut for two weeks due to a landslide which occurred two weeks ago (February 3) and the severe weather caused yet another landslip at Stonegate last Monday (February 10).
Ms Owen told the Observer: “If you walk into a shop and something fails or you only find half a sandwich in a box, you’d expect to get a full refund so why shouldn’t it be the same for trains?
“Not giving people a 100 per cent refund on their ticket is just not good enough. People are being taken for a ride but not in the right way.”
Ms Owen is also calling on Network Rail to take urgent action over landslips.
The Labour candidate has asked the company to resolve existing disruptions and establish ways to prevent future landslips.