Southeastern admit to skipping smaller stations if trains are late
SOUTHEASTERN has admitted not calling at smaller stations when trying to make up lost time on delayed services.
It comes after stinging criticism from one passenger, who had to take a taxi from Wadhurst after the impromptu decision to bypass his home stop of Stonegate.
Robin Hare, a retired management consultant who lives in Ticehurst, said: "It amounts to treating the little people as cannon-fodder and I find that unacceptable. It's shoddy at best and immoral at worst.
"It was a massive inconvenience and left me with a real dilemma of how to get home and get my car from the station."
The 60-year-old said his real concern was for people who might not be able to make alternative arrangements to get home.
Alison Nolan, a spokesman for Southeastern, said: "When there's major disruption, sometimes the decision is made to run the train fast and not stop at some of the stations. All operators do this, it's not unique to Southeastern.
"Otherwise, we would have hundreds of thousands of people in London unable to get home."
She added: "In this case, it was a signalling issue and if we hadn't missed stations it would have caused knock-on delays."
Southeastern denied it was punctuality targets that forced them to make up time by missing smaller stations.
Bob Baker, of the Tunbridge Wells and District Railway Travellers' Association, said: "A bit more transparency about how and why the decision is taken to miss stations would be helpful. I think that this should be done very irregularly, if at all, and I would like to be sure that they do it for the reasons they state."
Mr Baker also said the association was keen to hear from any rail user who had been on a train that missed scheduled stations. They can be contacted by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Hare has written to his MP, Greg Barker, and the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, to complain.
He said: "If I buy my ticket from A to B in good faith I expect to be deposited at B no matter what," he said. "Even if, in my case, it was due to a signal problem, to decide to miss stations en route was arbitrary and callous."