More Southern strikes announced – Transport Focus response
22 September 2016
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Another wave of strikes has been announced for Southern services, following continuing disruption, a temporary emergency (reduced) timetable, sinkholes and heatwaves.
Chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, Anthony Smith, condemned the strikes:
“As ever, it is passengers that suffer in the event of strikes. We are disappointed that the two parties have still not resolved their differences. They need to get back round the table and bring services back to normal as soon as possible.”
The watchdog is now appealing for passengers using Southern or the wider Thameslink network to download its app and share their stories.
Passenger manager Linda McCord explains: “We asked passengers of Southern and the wider Thameslink network to use our travel diary app to log their daily journeys.
“We use the stories we hear to add a real sense of the human impact of performance issues. We share them with the operator to suggest ways to win back some passenger trust.”
Two ‘quick-win’ achievements so far with the operator, Govia Thameslink, were:
- we realised passengers were being sold tickets for services that weren’t running, so it was able to address the information given
- people were reporting Passenger Assist services not being ready or not turning up at all – so it put effort into sorting that out quickly.
We also continue to use the feedback in the push for better compensation. While this is still (at the time of writing) not a reality, we were pleased to see the operator offering enhanced compensation and actively encouraging passengers to claim for delays. They reported a significant increase in delay repay claims, which we welcome.
We want to see the railway get back to ‘business as usual’ as soon as possible. But in the meantime, we also want to see:
- a one-off gesture to recognise the extreme problems faced up to now, such as a lump sum of compensation
- improved compensation from now on; preferably this would mean the immediate implementation of the Government’s welcome commitment to lower the Delay Repay threshold to 15 minutes
- a fares freeze for season ticket renewals.
To download the app, e mail firstname.lastname@example.org and our research agency will send you a personal ID login and instructions on how to access the app. Anyone who logs 25 or more entries by 19 October will be entered into a prize draw for £100 cash.
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