Open Letter to South West Trains

Dear Sir\Madam

I had to renew my train season ticket this morning.  I was flabbergasted to discover that my fare had increased by 11%.  Clearly you’ve been saving money by not advertising the fare change and I must applaud your attitude to cutting costs.  Having said that it would still have been good to know in advance.

After recovering from the initial shock I began to ponder the implications of such a hefty price increase.  A rate of inflation would be about 3% so you have added an additional 8% to the cost of travel.  I’m actually looking forward to a commensurate improvement in the level of service. 

  • I expect that 8% fewer services will be delayed or cancelled.  This may well improve services enough that only 1 in 10 trains are delayed which would be great.  I could even manage to get to work on time every day for nearly a fortnight given averages.
  • I expect that staff will be 8% more helpful.  This might be a bit of a stretch as it would require doubling the number of helpful staff as my experience is that only 1 in 12 staff are helpful.  Curiously the same proportion actually go out of their way to be obstructive.  The other 10 just seem to stand around gossipping.
  • I expect that the station will be 8% cleaner or at least that rubbish will be removed 8% more often. i.e. about once ever 11 hours.
  • I expect the train to be 8% less crowded.  Given the price increase I suspect more people will choose to drive to work so you may actually exceed my expectations on this point.

I imagine that you are getting the idea now.  I expect a general 8% improvement in the service to match the 8% above the inflation rate increase in fees.  Kindly arrange for this to be delivered or reduce the fees accordingly. 

Yours faithfully

 Mr hoverFrog


Filed under Bad things happen, Cull, You decide

11 responses to “Open Letter to South West Trains

  1. Dear Mr Frog,

    Much as I applaud your optimism I fear it is misplaced. While not directly advertised it has been known for a while now that all the rail companies were going to sting up with price rises in the region of 10%. This price rise it to cover ‘increasing costs’ and will provide you with no improvements to services, timetables, overcrowding, cleanliness, punctuality or helpfulness of staff. Indeed, my line has seen fit to increase my fair by 6.2% in return for not opening stations or running trains.

    Of course, the train operating companies claim that they are using the money to invest in improvements but these are generally long term initiatives which take long enough that we’ll forget about it before we discover that there are no real improvements. I do hope that your enthusiasm and optimism is not overly crushed by this rather blunt news, but it is best you find out now instead of getting your hopes up.


    The Model Commuter.

  2. Think yourself lucky….mine was 14%

    oh and improvements – no. my Dad is one of their ‘improvers’ and he’s just had all overtime cut because they want to cut costs by 8million. when my Dad pointed out that meant the work would not get done they said ‘yes, we know but we’ve been told to cut costs by 8 million’

    so out with safety, in with their money.

  3. concertmaster

    Well said, Mr Frog. These charges really wind me up… almost as much as bank charges but don’t get me started on them.

  4. Dear Model Commuter

    I am indeed crushed by your terrible news. I feel that the rail companies have taken advantage of me by exploiting their monopoly. I may have to get angry with them.

    @Pinky, oh I do feel lucky. It’s not as if I overspent in December so I have plenty of spare cash for fork out an extra tenner for the train. I’m even happier now that you’ve raised the ugly spectre of unsafe trains as well. Eeek!

    CM, at least with bank charges you can tell them to sod off or you’ll take your custom elsewhere. The 20 odd mile trek to work might be a bit difficult without the train. I suppose there’s always the bus… *shudder*

  5. concertmaster

    funnily enough, that’s almost exactly what I told my bank when they charged me £45 for going £10 overdrawn on Christmas Eve… I think they might have relented but I’m not sure yet….

    I don’t feel so optimistic about your train company though unfortunately…!

  6. CM, are you aware that you can ask your bank to refund the last six years worth of bank charges to you? It turns out that it may well be illegal for them to charge more than it costs them to administer.

  7. concertmaster

    Yep, someone told me that… The thing is, I’ve had the account for 15 years and this was the first time I ever went overdrawn on it. Cheeky blighters! I kicked off and they agreed to waive the charges.

    Then 2 days later, a mysterious payment (which I never made and am contesting) appeared on my statement which caused me to go overdrawn a 2nd time… Call me cynical, but I’m a bit suspicious about the timing of this little ‘error’….

  8. My bank (The Cooperative) only ever made one mistake on my account. When I pointed it out they apologised, fixed it and gave me £10. I have hoped for another mistake ever since but they have proven far too efficient.

  9. My monthly travel card has gone up by £4 so have done comparatively well.

  10. Jason

    I’m dreading finding out how much the train costs have gone up for me, but fortunately I don’t have to travel in to London THAT often and when I do I can claim it back in expenses. I did my expenses just before Christmas and was horrified to find the company owed me over £700! That WAS a nice little christmas present when the money came through tho!

    Last time I bought a ticket it cost me £39 for a day return before 9am, I’m sure I’ll blog in outrage when I find out how much it costs me now!

    And to top it all, Liverpool St station is still closed following the overrunning engineering works, so not sure if it’s feasible to even get to London for the rest of this week!

  11. One are claiming that they’ll be running a limited service into London LS this afternoon and that things will be back to normal by tomorrow afternoon, but, I have also heard that things are going to be stuffed until Sunday and even the BBC have been in contact with me so I wouldn’t hold your breath 😀

    I’ve taken the rest of the week off in the hope they’ll get it fixed by Monday.

    Oh – and try traveling from London to Leeds peak time buying your ticket on the train. You’ll understand the true meaning of outrage when you see the price of that little baby 🙂

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