Dedication to work must be rewarded by trains that stop

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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Hard-working Claire Sellars pays South West Trains an eye-watering £1,200 a year to get to work.

That’s for a season ticket simply to get from Havant to Petersfield.

The 40-year-old from West Leigh has to get up in the middle of the night so she can catch the first train to start her shift in a supermarket at 5.30am.

But what also bring tears to her eyes is that on 12 occasions in the past year she has arrived at Havant station to catch that 4.46am train only to find it will not be stopping at Petersfield.

This means she has had to fork out £17 a time to catch a cab to work – that is £204 on top of her exorbitant season ticket.

That brings tears to our eyes – tears of rage.

As Claire says, because she earns little more than the minimum wage she ends up working half her shift for nothing.

This is a woman who epitomises the modern work ethic in an era when British workers are often criticised for not being prepared to get on their bikes (or trains) to find jobs.

And South West Trains’s excuse? Over-running, overnight engineering works.

We appreciate the need to keep the lines up to scratch and, yes, during the night is the best time to do them.

Indeed, we understand that by their very nature these works will sometimes run late.

But what sticks in the craw is the infuriating admission from the train company’s managing director, Tim Shoveller, that these off-the-cuff decisions to scrap the Petersfield stop is to keep London commuters sweet.

His comment is worth repeating: ‘The removal of stops is a control decision on the day and is for the greater good to avoid delaying many more trains in the congested London area.’

How lame. If a train is scheduled to stop at a certain station it should stop there regardless of the time of day or the delays it might cause and, more pertinently, the adverse effect it might have on SWT’s punctuality targets.

Claire Sellars has to pay the price for this stupidity, so should SWT.

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