THIS year, both my mother and sister (on separate occasions) have had the infuriating experience of leaving to catch a booked Southern train to an important onward journey to either catch the Eurostar or a plane at Gatwick - only to have the train either not come at all or simply fly by and not stop.
They have been left in total confusion as there was no warning announcement of this happening or what to do about it afterwards. And furthermore, my mother was told there was a replacement bus coming and, lo and behold, it didn’t turn up.
In fact, I believe she was told that the bus driver got lost. On both occasions, they had to resort to paying for a taxi to take them to their destination - to the tune to about £60 each time.
Not only is this an appalling treatment of customers but after trying to get a refund on the cost of the train and taxi fares, Southern has the audacity to respond that ‘when disruption occurs on our network, we must make it our priority to restore services to the right time running as soon as possible’ - this entails missing planned stops so that ‘train crews must be given sufficient time for breaks’.
I really do understand the necessity for staff to be treated fairly and get their breaks (although the customer shouldn’t pay for these managerial mistakes) but I do wish a train service’s priority would be to respect paying customers and stop at stops where it has advertised trains will be stopping at and where customers have planned their whole journey based on that information.
It has also made it clear the train operator will only refund the train fare and that our travel insurance should pay for the rest.
Who gets travel insurance for every train they catch? It’s an utter disgrace of a ‘service’ - Southern should be ashamed. You are stealing money from your customers.