We’re having a meeting with Southeastern Managing Director, David Statham, and some of his team.
Here’s what we have on our list to cover – if you have anything to add then let us know via Facebook or Twitter!
Firstly – following on from our meeting in Spring 2015, it was great to see bicycle provision at Dartford improved (and put in sensible locations, with many more places than expected) even though we were given no updates on progress on the work – which did happen later than expected.
Resetting relationship between DRTA and Southeastern staff so valid concerns are taken seriously and not dismissed without being properly investigated, whilst we’re told they have been – as was exemplified by the response to our challenging PPM posters in January 2016. This leads to the inevitable question of how much else is this actually happening to ?? (see “outstanding questions”…)
Here’s what we currently have outstanding
22nd October 2015 – Heating question
Work continues on our project to relocate heating thermostats onboard, as a direct result of passenger feedback, to improve temperature regulation and our drivers are informed that heating should be switched off onboard during the peak on Class 465 units.
I questioned what turning off heating during peak meant.
As we all know, the heat on the Class 465 network trains reaches unbearable temperatures, even during winter.
5 months on, we do not have an answer to this question
Turning off rail problem alerts
14th October – via twitter, JT said he’d asked MG to write to me to explain the rationale for changing alerts.
I’ve received nothing since then, and for several months, no alerts from the new alerts provider…
Ongoing heating problem on networkers during winter
This has been covered here: https://www.drta.org.uk/127/its-time-to-stoptheroasting/
Bikes on trains at Dartford
@Se_Railway thank you! Hopefully will see less reoccurrences of this…
— Dartford Rail TA (@DartfordRailTA) November 18, 2015
This is an ongoing problem, we’re constantly told that the station manager will be told, but nothing happens
Responses to ongoing campaigns
Reports of flashing signs on board trains
but no update – this started happening again late in 2015. What’s going on?
No clear restart date for #stoptheheating
Calls for heating to be turned down during winter have fallen on deaf ears. Whilst too cold can be solved by adding layers of clothing, the excessive heating inches from customer’s legs and belongs could potentially be dangerous. To suggest that “since half the complaints are about it being too hot and half being about it being too cold, we must have it right” was, presumably an attempt at humour but nevertheless inappropriate.
Other issues that (may) have been raised before
Very rarely is any useful information given during disruption
Despite repeated promises by Southeastern, and by DfT to hold you to account, this remains probably the no. 1 issue, with too many examples to list. Our cynicism over the issue of iPads to staff proved to be well-founded – and it also turns out Mike’s question at Dartford JTB regarding back-office systems support for them was pretty accurate (i.e. there were/are none). Is there any hope of us being privy to a clear action plan with timed objective measures (i.e. not passenger survey results) for passenger information to be improved ?
On a plus point, it was fantastic to see HS1 ticket acceptance making a comeback during disruption earlier this month.
Overcrowding on HS1
Our members who travel from Ebbsfleet understandably resent being unable to gain a seat given the premium price of tickets. Suggestions have been made for re-instating Ebbsfleet starters, other than the 08:08, which apparently is often cancelled.
Stopping services short/skipping stops
You’ll be well aware how annoying it is to passengers who are already delayed when services are stopped short or skip stops in order to recover the service and our MPs are now raising this. Insulted is added to injury when:
a) Skipping stops isn’t announced until after the train has departed London, or not at all
b) The train makes up so much time that it passes skipped stations early, as happened recently with a Dartford-Victoria service that ran fast to Lewisham (it was less than 10 minutes late leaving Dartford)
Policy on use of manual gates
Dartford’s station manager and a Revenue Protection manager were insistent that the policy for use of manual gates is that they are only for use by people with reduced mobility or luggage, and that people being shephered away from it when there were queues for the automatic gates (and one was not accepting paper tickets) was correct. This policy would NOT be relaxed under any circumstances (except, presumably, an emergency…)
Despite Mike pointing out that he’d never seen this happening before this occasion (during a Meet the Manager session at Dartford), he was told that this was what should always happen.
For every day the following week, he deliberately went through the manual gate along with large numbers of other people – as always, we were never challenged.
Is this policy, and if so why do staff never enforce unless very senior management are present – the answer being obvious, of course – to enforce it is appalling customer service, and your front-line staff know this. If it is policy, it needs changing promptly.