10 FEB 2015

MP represents Maidstone Commuters in South Eastern meeting

Maidstone, Kent, Friday 6th February 2015:

The MP for Maidstone and the Weald Helen Grant met with a senior representative from South Eastern Trains last week to present feedback on their services.

After inviting comments from constituents via a leaflet which was distributed at Maidstone East train station, Mrs Grant received a great number of detailed concerns from commuters who use South Eastern services on a day to day basis.

Some of the main issues featured included the conditions of the trains, timetable changes (especially relating to London Bridge), poor punctuality with little or no explanation, and overcrowding. Amongst these were a whole host of personal complaints regarding particular stations or journeys.

After a constructive 90 minute meeting, South Eastern promised to address all of the points raised by way of an action plan. South Eastern were positive in accepting feedback and were able to provide some initial responses in the meeting.

With regards to the lack of information provided by the train company when trains are not punctual, a large sum of money has been dedicated to improving communications. South Eastern are in the process of introducing upgraded customer notice screens which will provide more detailed information on why your journey is delayed. Similarly they are hoping to introduce by the end of this year electronic tablets for platform staff so they have direct access to information from the control room. This will enable them to keep passengers more informed about the progress of their train. South Eastern confirmed they do not condone a lack of communication between conductors and their passengers. They continue to feature this aspect heavily in their training programmes and hold it with high regard.

They added that they would look into introducing a direct train to Cannon Street in the morning which would accommodate those going to work in the City who have been affected by timetable changes as a result of ongoing works at London Bridge station.

Passengers have been facing severe overcrowding on some peak time trains recently, an issue that featured heavily in the complaints presented to Mrs Grant. South Eastern apologised for this and explained it is as a result of having to share their rolling stock with Thames Link Trains who have recently faced a shortage due to flooding issues. They are working hard to resolve this problem and do not think it is acceptable for passengers to be standing for the duration of a long journey.

Helen said

"I was greatly encouraged by the useful and constructive feedback I received from my constituents. Although I was disappointed to hear so many complaints, I feel positive that our meeting was a step in the right direction. I will continue to hold South Eastern to account and strive for a better service."

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