Local MP, and a campaigner for better local transport, Tom Brake put Southern on the spot recently about the sharp rise in travel disruption which has affected thousands of commuters in the Sutton area.
Tom met with the local train service provider Southern to raise concerns about the deterioration in their service and pass on many of the complaints that were sent to him by commuters.
Commenting on the meeting Tom said: “As a regular commuter, who uses trains both to Victoria and London Bridge, I know how frustrating it is when delays or cancellations occur. I’ve recently met with Southern and emphasised the need to improve reliability, particularly at rush hour.”
“Southern admitted that their service over recent months has not been as good as it should be and assured me that improving reliability and punctuality is their top priority.”
“I followed up this meeting with one with Network Rail which is often the cause of delays on the network”.
During the Southern meeting, Tom discussed a number of issues which have been affecting Southern services. These included problems with new trains which, despite prior testing, often experience faults and require tweaking when they are first brought into service. Southern has also been affected by the redevelopment of London Bridge station which reduced the number of platforms they use from 9 to 6 and consequently the turn-around time at London Bridge to only 6 minutes.
Southern Trains said they have already taken steps to address some of the problems, including making the loading of passengers more efficient and recruiting 50 gate-line staff who are well versed in local travel information and will be able to advise about any onward journeys. Existing staff will also receive training to improve their local travel knowledge.
Tom added: “During the meeting, I also raised a number of issues regarding local stations, which Southern said they would look into. This included the opening of the new accessible entrance at Hackbridge station.”
“Since the meeting, I've received an update assuring me that work has started on the additional Oyster equipment for the new entrance, and it is expected to be operational inside three weeks."
To keep Tom posted, please inform him of any problems you are experiencing on the services that you use, by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org - your comments will be passed onto Southern regularly.