Why is everyone hating on Southeastern?

So I’ve been using the train network for a few months now and I really don’t understand why so many people are so critical of Southeastern trains.

I’m not going to defend their perfect record and claim their never late, but they are nowhere near as bad as everyone makes out. All I ever read about or hear from people is how southeastern have ruined their day or left them stranded.

I don’t have any hard or fast facts, but I don’t hold any grudge against them. I don’t know if it’s because I live early enough on the line, but I am always able to get a seat on the train. The morning train is on time virtually every day. I can only remember it being late once in three months.

The evening trains are a bit different. I pick up the train at its second station, so it’s always pretty full by then, but even so I can usually get a seat. I would say maybe once every fortnight the evening train may be late, but often no more than 10 minutes.

Once in nearly 4 months has their been a significant delay, and that was when there was a lightning strike that took out most of south londons train network. On this occasion I was 40 minutes late. Annoying but eased by the fact that southeastern run a “delay repay” scheme which will refund you part, or all of your train ticket depending I the length of your delay. On this occasion I knew people in the office who took 3 hours to get home rather than their usual 35 minutes. As they were with a different operator they were not entitled to any refund as they don’t operate the above scheme.

There is the occasional time when the train will be made up of only 8 carriages rather than the scheduled 12, and whilst this is annoying I’d much rather arrive on time, but slightly cramped, than be delayed.

On the whole I’m happy with the service I get, and would just like to thank southeastern for the good work. They’re not perfect, but can a train network really be perfect? From what i hear they’re one of the better. My car isn’t perfect, it breaks down sometimes, there are accidents which shut roads, yet we still put up with that.

My only real complaint is the cost, works out about £15 per day. Why can’t I buy a season ticket on direct debit? Just stupid in my mind. If you did this it would enable more people to buy season tickets (thus saving 2 months in cost) and might get rid of some of the bad feelings over the hefty cost. Can someone sort it out please.





6 responses to “Why is everyone hating on Southeastern?”

  1. Jonathan Avatar

    Does your employer do season ticket loans? They’re pretty easy for them to set up if they don’t already. Basically they would then buy your season ticket for you and you would pay it back through your salary over 10 months.

    1. ghosty Avatar

      Unfortunately not. I’m working on them and it’s being looked at. As a big(ish) company I think they’re concerned over the initial outlay and logistics.

  2. Leo Lyons Avatar
    Leo Lyons

    Is that a can of worms I hear being opened? I think it is complex because these days no-one is really sure who is responsible for what. The train operator, the track owner, station management, health & safety – you don’t really know who to blame. My wife has been travelling from Folkestone to London for ten years on the early commute. She could tell a few tales and the number of times I have had to listen to her in tears on the phone for being delayed once again by trains with no explanation or hope I have lost count of.
    I often think the measure of a good company is not how they perform when things are going ok – after all that is what they are supposed to do – but how they perform when things go wrong. Which, as you say they will inevitably from time-to-time. In this South eastern perform spectacularly badly. No announcements, no logic to their decisions, no apologies and – though there are exceptions – little display of compassion or understanding towards tired customers who are paying a huge amount for their tickets.
    Things have got much better since the introduction of HS1 but then fares went up by twenty per cent. And continue to increase. I think it is easy to believe we have a reasonable rail service until you look at those of France, Germany, Spain etc.Then one cannot avoid the fact that we are being shafted and those in charge don’t give a monkeys and are laughing in our faces.
    Oh and as for direct debit. It is never going to happen. The deal is they want all your money up front. You will pay in advance for a service whether you actually use it or not. It is not about saving you money – it is about them getting more.

    1. ghosty Avatar

      It probably is a can of worms, and I am sure that there is 40 people with bad stories for every good one that I give. But that’s just the thing. People are very quick to shout when things go wrong, and very quite when things work smoothly. I was merely commenting on how I am overall satisfied with the service.

      I agree with you about the direct debit, I had realised that’s why. I don’t know why the government doesn’t intervene and force them. As far as I am concerned they are a utility company, and I pay all my utilities via DD.

      Its probably that I am in the minority, joining a train before it gets busy, it being a 12 coach train, departing from a fairly busy and well run station, but I haven’t seen the issues that everyone shouts about.

      I actually think that Southeastern have fairly good communications. You can subscribe to their their twitter feed and it will give you reports on trains. That time when the world ended there was very little communication, but then that was true of every operator going through London Bridge. It was a waiting game until my train got into the station. At least they have a half decent compensation scheme unlike other companies.

  3. Nath Avatar

    I think it is also heavily weighted on which line you’re on.

    Delay and cancellation wise for what I see, there tends to be a patch of a whole week of crud rather than single days worth, that said it is usually spread out with a good few weeks or sometimes months of no problems.

    And truth be told, the cause of all the main delays I ever see are most likely due to poor maintenance of the rail network… And that’s not south eastern.

    In true timing, I say all this while sitting on a train at Cannon street waiting for it to go while the driver makes an announcement that we are waiting for the conductor to turn up… Lol

    1. ghosty Avatar

      I had that too, day I write a post saying its ok there’s a delay out of LBG.

      However, made the time up on the way and arriving on time at destination. \o/

      And the air con was working!

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