We at the Brighton Journal have never been shy in our coverage of the ongoing Southern Rail controversy. We’ve reported the strikes, we’ve been to the protests, we haven’t relented in our criticism of what passengers are being put through by the company’s incompetence.
Relations reached a head last week when a strike and severe weather put several, if not most, trains completely out of service. This was just a continuation of what has been a major sticking point for Brighton-based commuters.
But this piece of news should top it all. In quite laughable circumstances, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the franchise which controls the Southern Rail, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services, has been awarded for its dedication to ‘Passenger Experience’ at the Railway Innovation Awards.
The prize was awarded following the efforts made by GTR to implement technology in order to improve the overall passenger experience, and were particularly applauded for their real time information systems. These systems are presumably the same ones used to inform customers of the plethora of delays and cancellations of which GTR are guilty almost daily.
GTR was also rewarded for its dedication to improving the environmental impact of its train travel, however this should be something of a footnote in an awards ceremony which is sure to spark outrage. If you managed to catch our piece on what happens behind the scenes of the protests, you will know how dissatisfied customers have been and will continue to be if the status quo is maintained. Therefore we are forced to ask the question: in what world can a train company be commended for its treatment of passengers if the trains don’t arrive or leave on time, if they arrive or leave at all?
It’s beggars belief, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on this crazy matter.