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Our Passenger's Charter commitment

Our aim is to provide our passengers with:

  • A safe, clean, reliable and punctual train service
  • Clean and safe stations
  • Reliable, timely and easy-to-use information
  • Friendly, helpful and polite staff.

 

We are pleased to introduce our Promise, that shows in simple terms what you can expect from us. We are also working to improve the integration of our services with other train companies and other transport providers, especially bus services.

This Passenger's Charter does not affect your legal rights, which are set out in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. Copies of this Passenger's Charter and the National Rail Conditions can be viewed using the links provided, free of charge from staffed stations or our Customer Service Centre.

Full version of Passenger's Charter leaflet is available at stations and online.

 

Our Promise

We are pleased to introduce our Promise to you. This includes the following six statements that show what you can expect from your experience with us:

  • We strive to operate to our published timetable, with every train leaving and arriving on time
  • We always sell you the most suitable ticket for your journey
  • We have a guard on every train
  • We clean the inside of each train at least every three hours
  • We will be honest and straightforward in our communications with you
  • In times of disruption, when we know what's happening, you'll know. If we don't know, we'll tell you that too.

 

We will make every effort to meet this Promise at all times. If you feel that we have failed to meet our Promise in any way, we would like to know. To do this, please contact our Customer Service Centre

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Planning your journey

We provide all the information you need to plan your train journey, whether it is with South West Trains or elsewhere on the National Rail network. You can find the information you need from the following sources:

Our website

Our website offers a range of timetable, journey planning and train running information. You can:

National Rail Enquiries

National Rail Enquiries is the information service which gives train times and advice on how to plan your journey throughout the UK. Using state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, National Rail Enquiries can tell you where trains are during their journey. Information is available by phone on 08457 48 49 50 (lines open 24 hours) or from nationalrail.co.uk.

Timetables

You can download timetables from our website or get printed timetables from staffed stations and from our Customer Service Centre. New timetables are available four weeks before their start date at stations, on our website and at our Customer Service Centre.

Ask any member of staff

We are always happy to make sure you have the best information for your journey, help you read timetables and advise on any service disruption. We have a guard on every train who will be happy to answer your questions. At our stations any member of staff will be able to help you or find someone that can.

Our Customer Service Centre

Our Customer Service advisers are happy to help you with general enquiries about our train service, buying tickets, making arrangements if you need help when travelling and receiving any comments about our services. Call 0845 6000 650, lines are open from 6am to 10pm. For specific train time information, please contact National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 or nationalrail.co.uk.

Planned engineering work

Our network requires a regular programme of maintenance and improvement to the track and signalling. This may mean the rail lines need to be closed temporarily, causing changes to the normal timetable. Engineering work can often affect train services at weekends and public holidays, and sometimes train services in the early morning or late evening on weekdays. Our aim is to provide information on planned changes at least four weeks in advance on our website. We will include this information within our published timetables when we can. Planned engineering work can be found on our website and also displayed on our 'Changes to train times' posters at every station nearer the time.

Short notice engineering work

Sometimes engineering work has to be carried out at very short notice. When this happens, we aim to provide you with the information you need to make your journey.

Information on all engineering work is available from nationalrail.co.uk, our website and our Customer Service Centre. Our staff at stations and on trains will also be able to help you.

Bus replacement services

When it is not possible to provide a train service due to closure of the track, we will provide a replacement bus service. We regret that you will not be able to take the following items on the replacement bus services:

  • Large items of luggage
  • Prams and pushchairs that do not fold
  • Cycles
  • Animals (with the exception of guide dogs)

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If you need assistance

We are committed to meeting the needs of all our passengers and we will help you if you need special assistance in planning and making your journey. We work to make sure that nothing we do makes a person's disability a barrier to using our services.

Passenger assistance

Our Customer Service Centre can advise passengers with disabilities about travelling with us. If you need assistance or more information please see our Assisted Travel section.

Reduced price tickets

There are reduced fares for disabled passengers. Details of these and the Disabled Persons Railcard can be found in our Assisted Travel section or in the leaflet "Rail Travel Made Easy". This leaflet is available at staffed stations or from our Customer Service Centre.

Car parking

At most stations we provide marked bays for blue badge holders. Where these are within the station's chargeable parking area, the normal daily car parking rate will apply.

Station access

Most of our stations were built in a time when the needs of disabled people were not considered. This means that there are some stations where it is not possible to get to the platform without using steps. If steps are a problem for you, we will arrange alternative transport (usually a taxi) at no extra cost. This transport will take you to and from the nearest, or the most convenient, accessible station from which you can continue your journey. Some stations may be unsuitable for disabled passengers because the station is not staffed for all or part of the day. If the station is accessible but unstaffed, our on-train staff are able to help you get on and off the train.

Ramps

We have ramps on most of our trains as well as at stations to help wheelchair users and other mobility-impaired passengers to get on and off our trains. We have a guard on every train to help with ramps.

Toilets

A number of our stations and trains have toilets which are accessible to wheelchair users.

Reserving a wheelchair space

There are wheelchair spaces and priority seating on both short and long distance services. These can be reserved on long distance services. Please contact our Assisted Travel team to make a free reservation. These can be made up to 1800 hours on the day prior to travel, subject to the individual train operator and available space.

Luggage

At some stations our staff will help you with your luggage if they are physically fit enough and their other duties do not stop them from being able to help. Space to carry luggage on our trains is limited so please give thought to its size and weight. At stations with long walking distances between platforms we provide luggage trolleys.

Train information

At all stations and on trains (except those on the London Waterloo-Salisbury-Exeter line), we provide train service updates and emergency information by using information screens and making announcements. This is designed to help people with visual and hearing impairments. We know that good announcements are essential to visually impaired passengers, so our employees are trained to speak clearly.

There are induction loops at every station ticket office and on all Help Points to assist hearing aid users. 

Printed information

If you need information in an alternative format such as braille, audio, large print or tactile please contact our Assisted Travel team who will be able to provide you with free copies of any of our printed passenger information.

Disability awareness training

All of our Customer Service staff receive disability awareness training when they join the company, and receive regular briefings on disability issues.

Expectant mothers

We offer expectant mothers, who are holders of a Monthly or longer Season Ticket, a complimentary upgrade to First Class travel when no Standard seat is available. Conditions apply, see here for details about our Mums to Be scheme.

Travelling with young children

Many of our trains have been designed with areas of flexible space, making it easier to travel with pushchairs. All of our trains with toilets have at least one facility that offers a baby-change table and space for a pushchair. If you need help lifting your pushchair onto the platform or onto a train, our staff will help you, providing that they are physically fit to be able to do so and that you remove your child from the pushchair. Our staff are trained to assist in line with the principle: 'parents take the baby, we'll take the pram'.

Other useful information

These leaflets are also available from our Customer Service Centre:

  • Assisted Travel
  • Rail Travel Made Easy
  • Rail Map for People with Reduced Mobility

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Buying your ticket

We promise to sell you the most suitable ticket for your journey. There are a number of ways to buy your train tickets:

Online

You can buy train tickets online using our website. Tickets may be collected at any of our ticket machines using the valid payment used to purchase the ticket, or sent by post. Please allow five working days for delivery of any tickets requsted by post.

By telephone

You can buy most tickets and Railcards by telephoning our Customer Service Centre. We accept most major credit and debit cards. Tickets may be collected at any of our ticket machines using the valid payment used to purchase the ticket, or sent by post. Please allow five working days for delivery of any tickets requested by post. 

At the station

Our ticket office staff will sell you the most suitable ticket for your journey, including railcards and reservations.

You can pay by cash, rail travel vouchers, rail warrant or most major credit or debit cards. A list of accepted cards is clearly displayed. You can use a Season Ticket rail warrant to pay for Season Tickets or a company cheque to purchase an annual Season Ticket.

Tickets purchased online or by telephone may be collected after 2 hours at any of our self-service ticket machines using the valid payment card used to purchase the ticket. Nearly all stations have self-service ticket machines for buying tickets (you can pay by cash or card) for a wide choice of destinations and fares including 7 Day and monthly Season Tickets.

Ticket office opening hours are displayed at every staffed station and are also available on our website or by contacting our Customer Service Centre.

We will use reasonable endeavours to make sure that you should not need to queue at a point of of sale (excuding internet or telephone bookings) for more than five minutes during times of peak demand or for more than three minutes at any other time. We monitor queues so that we can take action to reduce them where possible.

We will display the times of peak demand applicable to each point of sale at a location nearby that is accessible to the public at all times.

Rail appointed travel agents

You can also buy tickets from rail appointed travel agents.

Refunds if you decide not to travel

If you decide not to travel you can apply for a refund within 28 days of the expiry of your ticket. In most cases you will get a refund immediately, depending on the method of payment, value of refund and ticket type. A reasonable administration fee may be applied to your refund. If the train you intended to use is cancelled or delayed or your reservation has not been honoured and you decide not to travel, we will give you a full refund (without any administration fee), provided you return the unused ticket to any ticket office at the time. Some Advance style tickets have separate refund arrangements which are advised on purchase. If you bought your ticket from a travel agent you should take the ticket back to them for a refund.

Buy a ticket before you board

You need to buy a valid ticket before you board one of our trains. We offer a range of ways to buy tickets before or on your day of travel. At a small number of stations we provide a Permit to Travel machine for use when there are no other ticket-buying facilities available. You should insert the maximum number of coins you have, up to the value of your ticket. You must exchange your Permit to Travel for a ticket at the earliest opportunity, and within two hours.

If the ticket office is closed, the self-service ticket machine is not working and there is no Permit to Travel machine, you should board the train and buy a ticket as soon as possible. This should be from the guard, at an interchange station (if you change trains) or at the destination station. 

Penalty fares

We know that the vast majority of our passengers buy a valid ticket before travelling and we have a duty to these passengers to make sure no one travels without paying. For this reason, we run a penalty fares scheme across most of our network. (Island Line stations are currently excluded.)

If you do not have a valid ticket and are approached by a revenue protection officer, who is an authorised penalty fare collector, you may be liable to a penalty fare of £20 or twice the full single fare to the next station at which your train stops - whichever is the greater amount .
If you wish to continue your journey beyond the next station stop you may be required to buy a full single or return fare for the remainder of your journey.

We have a policy to prosecute all deliberate fare evaders whenever possible. See our Penalty Fares section for more information.

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Your journey

Help and advice during your journey

Our Promise is to have a guard on every train. All our staff on trains and at stations are available to help if you need advice. There are also 24-hour Help Points at all of our stations (normally on the platform). 

Getting a seat

We operate a "walk on" service, which means that you can join any South West Trains service if you have a valid ticket. This is one of the many benefits of train travel and as a result we cannot guarantee you a seat, especially during peak periods or during disruption. However, we always aim to provide as many seats as we can to minimise the number of passengers who have to stand.

We no longer offer seat reservations on our trains and you are free to choose where you sit. Standard class tickets are not valid in first class except for Weekend First upgrades or where you have paid the appropriate excess fare.

Security

We work in partnership with the British Transport Police, Network Rail and local authorities to improve security at our stations, on our trains and in our car parks

To help reduce crime and perceptions of insecurity we have invested in the following initiatives:

  • Closed Circuit Television at all South West Trains stations, monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • CCTV on board all South West Trains services
  • Deployment of Rail Community Officers, accredited under the Railway Safety Accreditation Scheme. These officers provide a highly visible deterrent to crime and antisocial behaviour, and are employed to enforce the railway byelaws.
  • Funding for additional British Transport Police officers, dedicated to the South West Trains network
  • Provision of security guards at key locations to deal with antisocial behaviour
  • Provision of Help Points on every station platform

 

We continue to work towards gaining Secure Station accreditation for our stations wherever possible. This is a government-led initiative that recognises stations that have met strict criteria for security.

Cycles

We welcome the integration of train and cycle travel. We are increasing the provision of cycle storage areas, often in partnership with local authorities, and provide cycle racks or storage at most of our stations. Where we have CCTV installed at stations we try to make sure the cycle racks or storage areas are included in the coverage. Many of our trains get very busy and there is not always room to carry cycles safely and comfortably. For this reason, space for cycles is limited and is not available on most peak-time commuter services.

On some services you need to reserve a space for your cycle. Cycle reservations are free and can be made at most staffed stations. We recommend you make your reservation at least 24 hours before you travel. On the rest of our services where cycles are allowed, you do not need to reserve a space. This is allocated on a first come, first served basis.

We will carry folding cycles on any train or replacement bus service as long as they can be folded to a small enough size to be carried safely. 

Our Cycle Policy is published in our timetable book and shows the services where cycles may not be carried. See here for more information about cycles on our trains.

Catering on trains

Most longer distance services have an 'at seat' catering trolley service. Our timetable shows which trains offer a catering service. Please note that the catering service may not be available at weekends if the train service is changed because of engineering work, particularly on early morning or late evening services. If the advertised catering service is unavailable we will do our best to let you know before you join the train. See here for more information about on train catering.

Smoking

For the comfort and safety of all our passengers, smoking is not allowed on any of our trains. Also, in line with all other UK train companies, we enforce a complete no smoking policy at all our stations. All areas of the station are smoke-free irrespective of whether they are enclosed or otherwise. Smoking is allowed in car parks and open forecourts.

Lost property

The South West Trains Lost Property office is at London Waterloo station and is open from 7.30am to 7pm, Monday to Friday. You can register your lost item here or by phoning the Lost Property office on 020 7401 7861. All lost property found on trains or at stations is sent to our Lost Property office. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours for the items to be received at this office. You may be charged for the return of your item. You will be advised of the cost if your item is found.

Train service disruption

Sometimes things happen that cause disruption to our train service. When incidents happen, for safety reasons we may have to change our timetables without giving any warning. We always try our best to minimise disruption, to keep you informed and to recommend, or provide, other means of travel.

If disruption happens after you have started your journey we will do our best to get you to your destination station or provide other means of transport. If your journey is not possible we will do our best to get you back to an appropriate station. When there are serious delays, staff will give you access to a telephone and help contact those expecting you.

If you are delayed for over an hour while travelling with us, we will offer you a complimentary non-alcoholic drink where train catering facilities exist and where stocks are available.

All our trains have a public address system and our staff have a pager or telephone. We aim to let you know what is happening. Our Promise is: "when we know what's happening, you'll know. If we don't know, we'll tell you that too".

Punctuality and reliability of our trains

Our Promise is to strive to operate to our published timetable, with every train leaving and arriving on time. However, we do appreciate that there are occasions when you may be delayed on your journey. Under certain circumstances we will provide compensation - please read on for how and when you can claim.

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Compensation for delays or cancellations on Monthly or longer Season Tickets

Monthly or longer Season Tickets

There are two different types of compensation available for Monthly or longer Season Ticket holders. These are:

  • Passenger's Charter: applies if over a period of 12 months we have failed to meet our Passenger's Charter standard.  
  • Void Period: applies to a specific Service Group if a peak period has been severely disrupted.

Passenger's Charter compensation

These are our Passenger's Charter standards for train service performance:

 
Mainline
Suburban
Island Line
    
Punctuality 89%92%95%
Reliability 99%99%99%

 

We aim to greatly exceed these standards at all times but on some occasions, our train service may be disrupted and we may fail to meet these. We will give you a 5% discount on the price of your Season Ticket if, on average, over the previous 12 months either:

  • Punctuality has been more than 2.5% below the Passenger's Charter standard, or;
  • Reliability has been more than 1% below the Passenger's Charter standard.

 

We will give you a 10% discount on the price of your Season Ticket if, on average, over the previous 12 months both punctuality and reliability fall below these Passenger's Charter standards.

If the monthly average performance figure falls below these Passenger's Charter standards, we will provide Passenger's Charter compensation, which will be given to you as a discount off the price of your renewed Season Ticket.

See here for a record of our train service performance or on 'Performance' posters at stations. Delays and cancellations that are caused by incidents beyond the control of the rail industry are not included in our performance results.

This includes:

  • Security Alert
  • Extreme weather
  • Fatality or suicide
  • Vandalism
  • If we have published in advance an alternative timetable.

 

If trains are cancelled or delayed because of these reasons, we will display the number of trains affected on Performance posters.

To claim your Passenger's Charter compensation, you must renew your Season Ticket within four weeks of your previous ticket's expiry. Your new ticket must be for the same journey and for the same or a shorter period of time.

However, if you are changing your Season Ticket to cover an alternative route, a longer distance or longer period on a South West Trains journey, or upgrading your journey from Standard to First Class, the discount applied will relate to your previous ticket held. Please contact our Customer Service Centre for further advice.

Please note that where your journey involves travelling on the trains of more than one train company, you will only be able to claim from one of those companies. Please ask at the ticket office or call our Customer Service Centre to find out which Passenger's Charter scheme is relevant to your journey.

Void Period compensation

If the performance of our train service falls below an acceptable level during a peak period, it will be declared 'Void' for the Service Groups that are affected. We will provide proportionate compensation for any Void Period. When you renew or surrender your Season Ticket, our ticket office staff will apply any Void Period compensation to which you are entitled. You will be required to submit your expired Season Ticket to qualify for the compensation payment. This will be given to you as a discount off the price of your renewed Season Ticket or as a cash payment if you prefer.

If you purchase or renew your Season Ticket through our telesales, website or thetrainline.com you should apply in writing with the expired ticket to our Customer Service Centre.

Travelcard Season Tickets

If you bought a Travelcard* valid for one month or longer from one of our ticket offices or our Customer Service Centre and you normally travel on South West Trains services, you will also be able to claim one of the discounts detailed in the Passenger's Charter compensation section above.

If you bought your Travelcard** from anywhere other than a South West Trains outlet, we will consider your claim if you have proof that you use South West Trains for all or part of your journey (for example, a home or work address close to a South West Trains station and details of the journey you make). Please write to our Customer Service Centre if making a claim, enclosing your old ticket together with a photocopy of your new ticket.

* This applies to either traditional paper tickets with a magnetic strip or Oyster cards where you are able to produce your Annual Season Ticket record card or your receipt for Monthly or longer Season Tickets.
** We cannot offer compensation for Travelcards issued on an Oyster card if it was not bought at a South West Trains outlet.
Compensation for delays and cancellations on other tickets and 7 Day Season Tickets

All other compensation claims will be considered on an individual basis. As a guide, please expect the following:

A delay to your journey

If you are delayed for one hour or more (half an hour for Island line Trains) due to a failure of the rail industry (See the list of incidents beyond the control of the rail industry for exclusions), you will be given the full amount of the cost of that part of the journey.

We will compensate the full cost of a single ticket or half the cost of a return ticket. If you are a 7 Day Season Ticket holder, you will be given the proportionate cost of the price of the ticket.

We will not compensate tickets for journeys if we told you about the delay or cancellation before you bought your ticket and compensation applies to all journeys on South West Trains only. If we have had to introduce an emergency timetable, these compensation arrangements will be based upon the emergency timetable.

Compensation will be paid in the form of National Rail vouchers, which can be used in payment (or in part payment) for any National Rail ticket, including Season Tickets.

If you don't make a journey

See Refunds if you don’t plan to travel.

How to make a claim

Please complete a Comments Form (available at all ticket offices or from our Customer Service Centre) and send it to our Customer Service Centre. To help speed up your claim, please enclose your travel tickets. Claims for compensation must be made within 28 days of the expiry of the ticket.

Listening to your views

We carry out research to see what you think about all aspects of our service.

Passenger Forum and Tweet the Manager events are held, where you can speak or tweet directly to a manager and give your views. Details of dates and times for these events are available by clicking the 'Passenger Forum' link or from our Customer Service Centre. We also liaise with passenger representative bodies and passenger user groups to protect your interests.

We also liaise with passenger representative bodies and passeneger user groups to protect your interests.

the Passengers' Panel is a forum consisting of volunteer passengers of South West Trains. They welcome passenegers' comments and suggestions either through their website www.swtpp.co.uk or by writing to:

Passengers' Panel, Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NZ.

Making a comment or complaint

All comments, complaints, praise or suggestions about our services are welcome. We have a specialist Customer Service Centre team who are there to receive your comments or resolve your complaint. Complaints are analysed by senior managers, who are responsible for delivering an ever-improving passenger experience and recommendations for change are often made as a result of your feedback. Your feedback can and does help us improve our service.

If your issue is with another train company we will forward the correspondence to the correct company or advise you of correct contact details. When we have passed your correspondence to another company we will tell you we have done so and will give you that company's contact details.

If you are contacting us about a problem on a journey, please include:

  • Date and time of travel
  • Start/destination stations
  • Your tickets or photocopies if you are a Season Ticket holder
  • Your address and/or phone number
  • Your preferred times and method for us to contact you.

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Further information

Download our Customer Comments and Complaints Handling Procedure or request a copy from our Customer Service Centre.

Contacting our Customer Service Centre

There are a number of ways you can contact us. If you are writing to or emailing us, please also include a daytime contact telephone number as this can help us to reply to your correspondence more quickly or discuss points with you in greater detail. Comments forms are also available at all staffed stations.

Our response times

We aim to respond to 90% of comments and complaints within 10 working days. If a full reply cannot be made within 20 working days, we will contact you to update you. 

It may take longer to provide a full reply and if this is required, we will send you an acknowledgement after 10 working days and a full reply within 20 working days.

If you are unhappy with our reply

We will work hard to address your concerns to your satisfaction. If you are unhappy with our response, please let us know. Alternatively, you can contact Passenger Focus or London TravelWatch (in the London area). These are independent bodies set up by the Government to protect rail users' interests.

Outside London

RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ
Passenger Focus
PO Box 5594
Southend On Sea
SS1 9PZ

Tel: 0300 123 2350



Email: advice@passengerfocus.co.uk

Website: www.passengerfocus.org.uk

  

London area

London TravelWatch
2 Royal Mint Court,
London,
EC3N 4QN 

Tel: 020 3176 2999 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm)

Fax: 020 31765991

Email: enquiries@londontravelwatch.org.uk

Website: londontravelwatch.org.uk

Maps showing the Passenger Focus and London TravelWatch areas can be found on their websites.

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Definition of terms

Service Groups

Each Monthly or longer Season Ticket falls into one of 8 Service Groups, depending on your journey. These are as follows:

  • Weymouth/Portsmouth via Eastleigh to London Waterloo
  • Portsmouth Harbour via Havant to London Waterloo
  • Exeter St. Davids/Yeovil Junction to London Waterloo
  • Alton to London Waterloo
  • Windsor & Eton Riverside/Hounslow/Weybridge via Staines to London Waterloo
  • Reading/Aldershot via Ascot to London Waterloo
  • Main suburban routes to London Waterloo
  • Island Line routes on the Isle of Wight

 

Where your journey can be made using trains from more than one Service Group, your Season Ticket will be allocated to the Service Group that has the highest frequency of trains stopping at your origin station during peak periods. Ticket office staff can tell you which Service Group your Season Ticket is in.

Passenger's Charter Performance posters display details of Void Periods and our monthly train performance record for punctuality and reliability. This information is displayed on our website and also on posters at the following major stations:

Aldershot, Ascot, Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Bracknell, Clapham Junction, Guildford, Haslemere, Havant, London Waterloo, Portsmouth Harbour, Portsmouth & Southsea, Reading, Richmond, Ryde Esplanade, Ryde Pier Head, Salisbury, Shanklin, Southampton Airport (Parkway), Southampton Central, Surbiton, Weymouth, Wimbledon, Winchester, Woking and Yeovil Junction.

Punctuality - Percentage of peak hour trains arriving at destinations within 5 minutes of scheduled time (Monday to Friday).

Reliability - Percentage of the advertised train service actually operated (Monday to Friday all day).

 

Peak periods

Peak periods are the times of day when our trains tend to be busiest. This applies to trains arriving at London Waterloo between 7am and 9.59am and leaving London Waterloo between 4pm and 6.59pm. Peak periods do not apply on weekends and public holidays.

Void period

Void period is where there has been serious, extended disruption during a morning or evening peak period and when no alternative (such as replacement bus service) has been provided.

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