MP Philp: ‘Southern Rail’s service is totally unacceptable’

CHRIS PHILP, the MP for Croydon South, is promising commuters that he will continue to pressure the train operators to deliver an adequate service on lines into London

Croydon South MP Chris Philp points out where the rail problems are to minister Claire Perry

Croydon South MP Chris Philp points out where the rail problems are to minister Claire Perry

This morning I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate about the appalling performance of Southern Railway. The service has been totally unacceptable. Particular issues are lateness, cancellations, station skipping and short trains leading to overcrowding. Rails users in Purley, Sanderstead, Coulsdon and elsewhere are being short-changed.

Train punctuality is down to 82per cent on Southern, the worst in the UK and compares terribly to the 95 per cent on London Overground. Some 5 per cent of trains are cancelled or are seriously late. Southern’s targets for improvement are currently too low.

Which? Magazine found that Southern has the worst customer satisfaction of any UK rail line for punctuality. Transport Focus found satisfaction at just 60 per cent for commuters, the lowest in the UK and a fraction of the 94 per cent enjoyed by the Heathrow Express and East Coast Mainline.

Southern Railway users subsidise other parts of the rail network, yet get the worst service.

I called on the Rail Minister to:

  • Continue to chair personally weekly task force meetings until the problems are fixed
  • Improve the Delay Repay compensation system so that it is payable after 15 minutes’ delay, not 30 minutes, and so that repayments are automated. Only 12 per cent of eligible people currently claim under  the scheme
  • Fine the operators for station skipping
  • Look again at whether Southern deserve to keep the franchise if there are not improvements

I will continue to keep the pressure up on Southern and the Rail Minister.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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5 Responses to MP Philp: ‘Southern Rail’s service is totally unacceptable’

  1. marzia27 says:

    He is showing more interest than his predecessor in the issues of his constituents.
    Let us see if any results ensue.

  2. Nick Davies says:

    He might like to check his facts. Southern’s franchise has two weeks to run, so they’d have to make improvements pretty darn quick. And ToCs are fined for skipping stops as it is, it counts as a cancellation.

    • mraemiller says:

      “And ToCs are fined for skipping stops as it is, it counts as a cancellation.”

      I doubt that happens in reality. Travel on the Victoria to London Bridge line. The trains skip stations all the time … I’m sure it’s a loophole allowing the train to never be late in which case people can claim a refund by making it never stop at all. This may be literally true but the train still starts at Victoria and terminates at London Bridge so who’s to know except the people actually on the train who probably don’t know they’re supposed to grass the operator?

      • Nick Davies says:

        Everyone who needs to know knows. Trains are logged every inch of their journeys. See http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/

        They don’t skip stops on a whim, it’s by instruction from on high; who pays what to whom is defined in immensely complex agreements written by immensely expensive lawyers.

  3. nigestair says:

    It’s good that our MP is badgering for a better service. After all, MPs are there to represent their constituents concerns and interests.

    I just hope his present enthusiasm (which is probably partly due to his only just having got the job) is maintained over the medium to long-term.

    After all, when you know you’re likely to be elected however well you perform as a constituency MP, it must be tempting to ease off after a while.

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