My journey to and from work yesterday tallied up to five hours! I could have flown to another country and back. Where do I live? Sleepy Surrey. So I’m asking South West Trains to refund fares as a goodwill gesture.
It’s been a bit of a week. South West Trains (SWT) issued a sheepish apology this morning, after a week of disruption:
‘We have endeavoured to minimise the impact of these problems, although this is of little consolation if you have been affected by one or more of these events.’
Too right! Although SWT said last night the delays were the result of signalling problems, this morning they blamed stolen cabling as the cause.
Unfortunately, train companies aren’t obliged to offer compensation when the delay is outside of their control – such as an act of vandalism. However, we think, as a good will gesture, SWT should put themselves in their passengers’ seats and offer compensation.
How long is too long?
Memories of Hannah Jolliffe’s Conversation floated through my mind last night on my epic three and half hour journey home. How long is too long when it comes to commuting?
I’ve commuted into London for around six years now and my journey usually takes an hour door-to-door. I think that’s acceptable, and I’d go as far to say that it’s impressive to go from one county to the next in such a short space of time.
Plus, I’m pretty tolerant of delays. If I realise I’m going to be delayed, I’ll go for a walk, a drink or get a bite to eat and wait it out.
Although I’m not one of the fortunate few that has the money to get a taxi all the way home, I’m not a vulnerable traveller. I was shocked to hear people arranging taxis from Waterloo to Winchester last night! Ouch!
Tales of commuters having to help a pregnant woman off the train and walk her down the tracks are unacceptable. Why, when a train company is aware of an issue, do they allow a train to start a journey, sit in the middle of nowhere and then get commuters to fend for themselves?
Helping in times of need
Last night I was saddened to see groups of older people looking cold, lost and confused. I think travel companies should have a support team to help those who need extra help getting home. As far as I was aware, there were no alternative transport arrangements. Tannoy announcements simply apologised and said trains were subject to severe delays.
I very nearly walked through my train to encourage everyone to complain and get compensation for their journey. However, that would have been tough with passengers packed shoulder to shoulder, and I was slightly nervous I’d get thrown off for sounding a little crazy.
Still, if it wasn’t caused by cable theft, you would have been entitled to a 100% refund of your fare if you were delayed by over an hour. Ok, it’s in National Rail vouchers, but it is compensation nonetheless. If you’re a season ticket holder, different rules apply.
Were you stranded last night? Do you think South West Train’s apology is good enough in place of compensation? Join me in getting it off your chest.