Over 15,000 commuters have joined together in signing a petition, which will run for six months and calls for Southeastern to be rid of its rail franchise.
The petition, which was started by Oliver Passey, has now reached over 10,000 signatures, at which point the government is given the chance to respond. Many commuters have spoken out, arguing that Southeastern have lost their train of thought, and have accused the company of letting down their customers and cancelling trains in an attempt to avoid fines. One man in particular plans on suing the franchise after being left with no option other than to stay in a Travelodge in Tunbridge Wells overnight as a result of a train cancellation.
A Facebook page titled ‘I Hate Southeastern Trains’, which has tallied over 1,000 likes, was created for members of the public to express their anger regarding the service. Richard Harris, an affiliate of the group, posted to the site saying: “I pay money to Southeastern, but nothing to Network Rail. It is therefore up to Southeastern to ensure that the signals and tracks are working properly.” He added: “If I bought a faulty car I wouldn't accept the dealership shrugging its shoulders and blaming the tyre manufacturers, but it seems we can let Southeastern off the hook for the infrastructure not being up to scratch.”
Even though Southeastern have been ranked the worst way to commute in London, the service have agreed that it had been a difficult few weeks, but said it was “committed to bringing about improvements”. However, they are not the only company coming under fire in this region, with both Southern Rail and Network Rail having faced a grilling from several MP’s.
Chuka Umunna, Labours’ MP for Streatham, told the Press Association: “They have been providing utterly appalling services for many months”, he added, “usually what we have is Southern Rail and Network Rail seeking to blame each other when both are at fault”.