Working parents hardest hit by new Southern timetable

Posted On 05 Jul 2016 at 4:04 pm

Working parents look set to be the worst affected by Southern Railway’s new temporary timetable which starts from next week.

Southern trains stock shot

Under the revised timetable – released to combat short staffing and cancellations – the first two direct Brighton to London Victoria trains after 8am – when most nurseries and school breakfast clubs open – have been cancelled, with a gap of more than an hour between the 7.44am and the 8.46am services.

And it’s a similar story on the way back, as the 4pm Victoria to Brighton has been cancelled, and the two trains the other side at 3.50pm and 4.20pm have usually been formed of just four carriages only, which means parents risk not catching them and being fined for late pick-ups.

One Brighton mother, Laura Marshall, said: “The cancelling of the 8.30am is a massive pain for me as nursery opens at 8am and then I hotfoot it to the station. I arrive into work late but it is accepted given I am very early other days when not doing drop off.

“Getting in for 10am is going to cause problems so then I’ll work longer that day and will miss bedtime with my daughter.”

Another, Justine Stephens, said: “Its basically all of our trains in and out that have been removed. I am going to have to get the Thameslinks and change.

“My husband already slums it on the Thameslink in order that we aren’t on the same train lines should the inevitable cancellations etc occur.

“I pay £5.5k for this service. There must be a big campaign here – to reclaim 15% of our ticket price, that being the level of deterioration in service that we will all be experiencing according to GTR.”

A third, Hayley Regan, said: “I drop off at 8am and sometimes pay for a taxi to get the 8.15am and have the backup of the 8.30am. I go in early two other days but still there’s no guarantees.

“Surely they can’t justify a one hour wait from 7.44am to 8.46am! I’m sure it’s the same for others. I’ve had to cancel meetings for next week now.”

Hove MP Peter Kyle called on Southern to restore the full timetable asap – and run longer trains in the meantime.

He said: “Working families have already been hit hard by all this disruption – my inbox has been full of emails over the last year from frustrated parents who end up arriving home late after their children have gone to bed. 

“This current situation shows why the emergency timetable is simply not a sustainable solution and a full timetable must return ASAP. 

“Southern must also surely take action during this interim period and lengthen any four carriage trains on the Mainline routes to help cope with extra demand from cancelled services.”

  1. Anon Reply

    Does anyone still remain unconvinced that this is a company that just doesn’t give a tupenny damn for any of us. All they see anytime they look at us is £££££!
    They’re an absolute disgrace, run by top management who view us all with nothing but contempt. They have GOT to go!

  2. Haygarth Woodman Reply

    My family and I moved to Shoreham in December 2014, excited to be raising our daughter on the south coast and my wife hopeful of finding work. People did tell us that occasionally the trains could be a pain but it is literally unbearable. Trains are more often late than on time, over crowded and frequently cancelled with no significant compensation. Southern Rail are utterly appalling but with salaries low and career opportunities so rare in Brighton, people have absolutely no choice but to park their dignity and keep bundling on to the trains to travel like cattle up to a city where they can earn enough to live on. 18 months later we’re moving on. I’m giving up a job I love, passing up a long awaited promotion and our daughter is being yanked from a nursery where she’s flourishing and making friends. The real cherry on the cake is the fact they they still run first class sections and wait for it…fine people on top of their £5k pass fee for going in there when there’s no seats elsewhere. You couldn’t make it up.

  3. Rob cockburn Reply

    building on this I now cannot make it back home in time for the end of the nursery day for my son. Living in Seaford and having the extended time from a replacement bus means I have to get the earlier train home and miss core hours at work. I can’t get in earlier as the nursery is noy yet open.

    I will not be able to keep my job if this continues.

    I am very worried that a compromise will be made and that the Seaford line and connections from London will never get back to previous levels of services. When things go wrong on the line we are usually the ones to lost out on prioritisation of service. When this is sorted out we cannot lose out any more

    We are having a protest on 12th July from 6-8pm and encourage people to come if they can get there. I would recommend driving or the bus

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