Published on : Wednesday, March 15, 2017
DfT, in its new consultation document said that “We recognise that first class tickets remain popular on certain routes, notably on the South Eastern main line to Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. However, removing it would create more room for passengers, which would be important during peak hours.”
In the most recent National Rail Passenger Survey, it has been shown that the current franchise holder was among the worst performing train operators for customer satisfaction.
The founder of the Seat61.com international rail website, Mark Smith, who was previously a British Rail manager on the South Eastern network said that Southern and Southeastern have persevered with first class until now, but strangely in their case the first class section is often quite literally identical to Standard Class, with the same seat layout and even the same seat fabric.
Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport approved of the campaign and said that overcrowding is a major problem and it can be galling to see people lounging comfortably in half-empty first class carriages when you’re crammed nose to armpit in cattle class every day, so addressing this on South Eastern would be welcome.
Great Western Railway, which operates from London Paddington to the Thames Valley, South Wales and the West Country, has sharply reduced the number of first-class seats on both commuter and long-distance routes. A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We are committed to offering a first class service and expect demand to grow with ongoing improvements and enhancements to the fleet.