Say you want an information revolution?

06 May 2010

The trains are generally clean and on time. Usually off peak you can get seats. Stations are, by and large, clean. But it’s the information, or lack of it, that can still drive passengers mad.

Coming back from Gatwick at the weekend I was trying to get to Sevenoaks to see my dad. The 12.39 Victoria service rolls in on time and the indicator correctly says it is going to Redhill, where you need to change for Tonbridge. However, once onboard, the announcement and the indicator says next stop East Croydon. So nine anxious minutes wondering if the train is going to stop there, which it duly does. Unnecessary stress.

At Redhill, the indicator board says the 13.11 going to Tonbridge is from Platform 1B. Passengers, quite a few of them and trusting souls that they are, gather there. Train rolls in past all of us to Platform 1A where it stops. Confusion reigns but helpful staff answer everyone’s questions that, yes, this is the 13.11 going to Tonbridge and everyone yomps up platform. Did it spoil my day? No, but again so unnecessary.

Then the final irritation. Engineering works mean Southeastern Trains to Hastings going fast to Tonbridge – via Redhill. No announcement but the guard helpfully says ‘ah, you won’t have time to get over to other platform…’ so us passengers who could have caught a fast train are left on the stopper. A simple bit of thought could have made passengers day! More focus on information please.

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