London’s transport commissioner has described national rail firms operating in the capital as “shit” and likened some of their trains to “the wild west”.
Sir Peter Hendy, head of Transport for London, has used an interview with Management Today to highlight differences between TfL’s public service ethos and the train operators’ profit-driven approach.
He told the magazine: “If you make a mistake on your Oyster Card on the Tube, we’ll refund it. On South West Trains, they’ll fine you. That’s a big philosophical difference.”
“On Southeastern the trains are like the Wild West. They are shit, awful. And then every now and then some people who look like the Gestapo get on and fine everyone they can. It doesn’t improve your day, does it?”
Appearing before the London Assembly he said passengers had suffered because of equipment unreliability, “inadequacies in installation” and an “inability of infrastructure to operate the train service that’s been scheduled.”
He also suggested passengers were being let down because of the absence of a “London focus” within Southeastern or Southern which serve a wider area and are “run as part of a bigger group of services.”