#southeastern letter to demand answers


I thought I share a letter I just posted to Southeastern Rail.
Feel free to take the idea and send a similar letter to them, I am sure they will listen eventually.


Charles Horton, Managing Director
PO Box 63428

Dear Mr. Horton,

Kent House to Victoria Service

I used to travel from Clock House to Charing Cross on my commute to work but recently changed to Kent House in order to go to Brixton/Victoria. Whilst I believe the Hayes line is the busiest line in London, and from Catford it is difficult to board the train (8:04 leaving Clock House), this line has normally 10 carriages, which I understand are a maximum. However, currently, I am more concerned about the recent developments on the Orpington line.

In the mornings I take the 8:12 service from Kent House to London Victoria. This train is usually very busy, so I get on carriage 4 of a normally 6 carriage long train. In 8 out of 10 cases I even get a seat. However, recently the service seems be formed of only 4 coaches. This happened on average about 3 times a week.

If a service is formed of 4 coaches, I am lucky to get a seat, normally stand and from Sydenham, latest West Dulwich there are passengers left on the station that cannot get on the train. Particularly in warm weather conditions, as we had in August, this is unacceptable and not very nice to say the least.

I tweeted about it several times, even compared your service to the conditions animals are allowed to be transported in, and I have to say, I sometimes would prefer to be an animal as it seems that they are treated better.

Also, on Monday this week I contacted your online customer service via the web form and haven’t heard back. I was more than p* off and really annoyed. I find the conditions I travel on 60% of the time inhuman, rude, ruthless and just unacceptable. I find it even worse that Southeastern doesn’t seem to care.

So far I am missing you responding to tweets, engaging with customers and commuters, and not responding to filled in web form. From a company serving London commuters I’d expect more communication, more commitment, and a healthier attitude towards your customers.

If you look at Twitter and do a quick search, you find many passengers being dissatisfied. But I don’t seem to find a response to them (this is a mini snapshot really, I leave it to you to do a full search).

As mentioned in my email on Monday to you, if Southeastern doesn’t react, you don’t leave me and other passengers (and it won’t be difficult to find them), to boycott Southeastern, to put more public pressure on you, or to take things to the industry bodies, e.g. London Travel Watch or Passenger Focus. Having commuted for over 7 years with Southeastern, I probably spend close to £8,500 on travel cards with you.

Rumour has it that you are aiming to increase fares by another 8% next year. My current monthly travel card is around £147.20 and it would go up by a whopping £11.78. For that money I have to get a much better service, guaranteed seat, and a better customer response.

Whilst I appreciate you running a monopoly on train connections in the South East, I don’t think it gives you the right to treat your passengers/customers in a way you do. I think you are missing the point of protecting elderly and disabled. People that don’t stand up for themselves, panic in crowded location etc, that don’t even get a chance to get on the train.

I expect actions! I expect engagement and communication!

Additionally, I’d suggest the following to you: a refund on every journey I stand due to overcrowding.
This is mainly in the mornings as I travel home late from work, so if we say on average I stand 2.5 journeys a week, this makes it 10 journeys a month. I believe that the current ticket if I only buy a point to point card is £25/week, in total £100/month. If make 20 morning journeys (20 weekdays, amounting 40 journeys return), then the price per journey is £2.50, hence I’d like you to reimburse me £25 per month. To be fair, we can go back to May for that, so the total up to end of August comes to £100.

I look forward hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Volker Ballueder