Southern Trains came in the bottom three in a Which? train satisfaction survey for 2015.
The consumer magazine was looking for the the best and worst UK train companies.
Out of an available five stars Southern – which runs the Uckfield Line – received two for the availability of seating, two for cleanliness of toilets, three for condition of the train, two for punctuality, two for reliability and two for value for money.
Twenty-one companies were included in the survey and only Southeastern and Thameslink and Great Northern/First Capital Connect came out worse.
The news of the poor scoring for Southern, which gave a total customer score of 46% when the average was 52%, would come as no surprise to travellers on the Uckfield line who have suffered many nightmare journeys this year.
The latest was on Friday when the train was brought to a halt at Hever.
Uckfield commuter Penelope Parker has written an open letter to Southern after that experience saying:
“I am continually astonished at the ineptitude of Southern to deal with emergencies.
“When our train was brought to a halt at Hever station last night we were told that buses had been ordered. Surely there has been an emergency procedure devised for each station so that as soon as something happens the controller turns to the correct information and sets the procedures in motion.
“For example; can coaches ACTUALLY get TO the station where the passengers are? There should be a list of all taxi companies available in the area that are willing to deliver passengers to stations on the specific rail line for an agreed fee, billable to Southern if coaches are unavailable.
“And it would be a good idea if a local employee or trained volunteer was available who can turn up within a short time to organise the evacuation at each station on the line.
“The people who suffer most are not the first class passengers who can afford their own taxi, or passengers with a person at home available to leap into a family car and come and fetch the other half, but the elderly, the occasional traveller, those who do not speak English well and parents with small children; all of which were represented at Hever last night, and I feel guilty for abandoning.
“What time did the mother with her four children under the age of 10 get home last night? They are unlikely to have been able to afford the £40 taxi ride and legally would have needed a mini-bus.
“To say that I am unhappy with the service delivered last night is putting it mildly, and this is not the first time I have been astonished and dismayed with the chaos resulting from a cancelled train journey.
“When is Southern and the Uckfield line especially, going to get its act together?
A season ticket holder
CC: My Facebook page
More about problems with Southern and the Uckfield line here:
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