Southern Rail fines commuters for standing in first class section of overcrowded trains

The company stands by its decision

Southern Rail isn’t having a great week. On Monday it emerged that the company was presiding over “Britain’s least punctual rail service”, and had rejigged timetables to accommodate its regular lateness.

Now, the company is being criticised for fining commuters forced to stand in the first class section of the train because there was no room elsewhere.

According to the Independent, Oxted commuter Peter Boyland wrote to MPs Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah to complain after he saw ticket inspectors fining passengers on the 7.36am Oxted to London Bridge service on 22 April.

In his letter, Boyland said: “This is a fine example of the attitude of Southern, who only seem concerned about protecting their revenue, and less about providing an acceptable level of service.”

One commuter involved took to Twitter to vent their frustration at the service.


Southern Rail said to the Independent: “In this instance, passengers who were issued with penalty fares were sitting in first class accommodation whilst holding standard class tickets. First class accommodation is not declassified automatically if the train is busy, but conductors can use their discretion to declassify if it is deemed necessary.”

Commuters using Southern Rail face some of the UK’s least dependable trains. This week, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said that a fifth of Southern’s trains did not meet arrival targets and at peak times, 37.4% of trains were more than five minutes late.

Do you think Southern were right to fine their customers? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @LondonlovesBiz

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Peter Boyland might highlight the 07.36 Oxted to London Bridge train, however if it had been the earlier train to L Bridge there is no chance that commuters would be fined, as the ticket inspectors wouldn't be able to get along the carriages....we are all crammed like sardines. Not once this year have I managed to get a seat travelling to London on that train – and the same applies to all the others joining at Oxted. Southern only put 6 carriages out, whereas it clearly needs double that. They are happy to take the extortionate fares, but do little for their”customers”.

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  • As the vast majority of people want the railways taken back under national ownership, isn't it time to end this farcical experiment in privatisation?

    The railways sap FIVE TIMES the subsidy that British Rail received, that's £5bn of taxpayers money, much of which goes to pay the private profits of companies that provide an ever declining level of service.

    Meanwhile, fares have risen 400% since privatisation.

    Even Thatcher said privatising the railways was a step too far. If ever proof of this were needed, simply take any rush hour train to see what a shoddy service is provided at eye-wateringly high prices compared to every other civilised nation on Earth.

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