03 October 2022

A London TravelWatch spokesperson said:

‘These cuts to direct trains to Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Cannon Street stations on the Southeastern network are bad news for passengers.

‘Southeastern passengers rely on direct train services to get to work, attend medical appointments, to be with friends and family, and to get to the capital’s attractions, many of which are concentrated in the West End, South Bank and the City.

‘The new timetable will mean that people will have to change at London Bridge to finish their journey. As London Bridge is already a busy station, we’re concerned these changes will negatively impact disabled passengers and those with accessibility needs who will have to get off the train and navigate lifts, escalators and stairs down to the main concourse.

‘They will then either have to complete the rest of their journey by tube using London Bridge underground station. Or they will have to get back up to a different platform for the connecting train service they need. This will add time and stress to many peoples’ journeys. 

‘We’re worried that the cuts to direct train services will deter people from travelling precisely at the time when we want to encourage people back to using sustainable transport.

‘We believe that if Southeastern had asked passengers about these cuts to direct train services before announcing them, the response would have been a resounding ‘no’.

‘We’re calling on Southeastern to make sure these service changes are well publicised so that people are not caught out when making journeys from December. We’d also expect to see a big increase of staff at London Bridge to assist those people who need extra help getting to where they need to be.

‘We’re keen to see what impact these changes have on train service punctuality and whether or not delays are reduced significantly as a result of this timetable upheaval. If they are not, we’d hope that Southeastern would reverse the changes at the earliest opportunity (most likely during the Spring timetable changes in 2023).’

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