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Question: 8

If you apply for another franchise extension, will you commit now to falling into line with the other major operators and offer a “delay/repay” refund service, which is independently acknowledged to be a great deal fairer to your passengers than your current method?

Posted by Tim Pullen 22/09/2014 12:32:35


Thanks for your note. We are obliged to follow the bidding instructions as defined by the DfT Rail Executive. Delay-Repay is in place at our sister company East Midlands Trains, and I would be very happy to see it in use for SWT.


Question: 7

Why is it not possible for you to introduce a "commuter card" that is only valid Mon-Fri. I, like probably thousands of others, do not need a seven-day card, but on occasion have to purchase one to commute to work. Buying five daily tickets is not an option as this costs more than the price for a weekly card!

You would seem to be benefitting enormously from people having to buy tickets they do not need, and in this technological age I fail to see why it is not possible for a ticket type such as this to be introduced.


Posted by Tim Brooks 22/09/2014 14:29:29


All season ticket validities, be it a month or a year, are derived from a base 7-day season ticket price. In turn, the 7-day season ticket price is based on a number of working days - the actual number will vary from journey to journey - and gives weekend travel for free.

The Department for Transport (DfT) have plans to trial flexible ticketing, which would only work in conjunction with smartcard ticketing. When we have further details from the DfT we will consider taking part in the trial, but it is unlikely to start until next year.

Question: 6

Whilst the efforts you've made to be on social media are to be commended, you really need to ensure that you present a consistent approach, particularly on Twitter. The quality and actual content of responses varies far too widely, from effusive and friendly to standoffish and confrontational. Moreover, answers seem to change -- will WiFi be expanded gets responses from "Watch this space :)" to "There are no plans to expand this." Well ... which is it? I've also seen responses like "I'm not familiar with that route." Well ... then why are you on a social media account for South West Trains?

And I'm sure you'll deny this, but there are times when the grammatical structure of responses makes it beyond obvious that the service has been outsourced, most likely to India. You can do what you want, but it undermines your credibility.

Posted 22/09/2014 09:14:03


Thank you for recognising that our social media team make every effort to provide information. It is certainly an important part of both our customer information and engagement strategy. In little over two years, our number of followers has grown to over 113,000, which suggests that we are providing a service that our customers find very useful. 

I can assure you that our Twitter team are solely based within our Control office, although we have recently trained and given access to a number of our front-line Managers from across our business to help provide responses, where an input from a business expert would provide a more timely response to a customer question.

Obviously, at times of very high demand, there may be a need to also share the workload with our colleagues at National Rail Enquiries, who have access to all the same information systems available to our team and therefore should be providing the same level of consistent answer and I am sorry if you do not think this is the case.

Finally, I believe our twitter team do try to provide a balanced style of response using both humour and empathy in equal measure when they believe it is appropriate.     

Question: 4

The free wifi has been a fantastic new feature on the Weymouth and Portsmouth route. Will it be introduced on other long-distance routes, e.g. Exeter St Davids?

Posted 22/09/2014 12:37:15


Thank you, the free wifi introduction on the routes mentioned has been well received. There are plans to extend the free wifi to the 450 fleet as well as the 444 fleet, and we will continue to look at opportunities to extend to all the South West Trains fleets at some point in the future.

Question: 3

If a SWT employee uses SWT services to get to work for an assigned shift time, and repeated problems on the line regularly cause that employee to be delayed, is he/she instructed to take earlier trains, like those of us in the real world? Or are SWT employees allowed to operate as though the timetable is actually upheld?

Furthermore, how many of the heads and deputy heads of each of your departments actually use your trains to travel to work? Do they do so in standard class? At what level does a manager qualify for (free) first-class travel?

Posted by Anon 23/09/2014 09:31:09


It is the personal responsibility of any member of staff to report for duty at the correct time.

With regards to the class of travel ticket used by members of staff for duty purposes on South West Trains, this should be undertaken in Standard Class only. We would also not expect any member of staff to be occupying seats on services where passengers are standing and there is a clear instruction on this.

Leisure and residential travel passes issued to senior maangers within the rail industry are srictly controlled and issued by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), and South West Trains are not involved in this process. 

Question: 2

Are SWT able to provide later trains to Portsmouth from Waterloo on Friday/Saturday night? The last train being 2345 for some people not late enough! Will there be a move towards a 24/7 railway ?

Posted 22/09/2014 19:12:19


We would like to be able to operate later trains, but we have a huge amount of infrastructure and maintenance work to carry out over the next few years. Much of this is undertaken between the last and first trains, so at the moment I'm afraid we cannot lengthen our hours of operation.

Question: 1

Hi I have two questions regarding the West of England line.

1) Is it possible to run more trains from Waterloo to Bristol Temple Meads? Its so much more convenient than changing at Salisbury.

2) will the West of England be electrified? Your electric trains seem so modern compared with the diesel trains, and would that be overhead wires or third rail?

Many thanks

Posted 22/09/2014 11:00:59


We are pleased to hear that the through Waterloo to Bristol services are popular, and we would like to operate more, but at the current time it is not possible to do so, unfortunately.

The Exeter route isn't amongst those routes to be electrified between now and 2019, but it is hoped it will feature beyond that time span.  

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