South West Trains ‘said sorry 650 times in one week’

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Train operator South West Trains is reported to have said sorry to customers 650 times in one week.

The rail firm, which runs services between London and Waterloo, apologised individually to hundreds of commuters who had turned to Twitter to express their frustration.

Other ‘buzzwords’ featuring strongly in a survey of the firm’s Twitter account included ‘delay’, used 260 times, and ‘cancelled’, which popped up 136 times.

The company’s customer relations programme involves it replying to individual tweets abour poor service and problems, many real-time tweets by people on a train.

The repeated apologies have led to a spoof Twitter account entitled ‘South West Pains’ which has been created by one passenger.

A SWT spokesman said: ‘The number of tweets on any day can go up or down depending on a variety of factors affecting the railway, including planned railway improvement work.

‘Even where we have multiple contacts about one issue, we always try to provide an individual response and say sorry to those customers affected.’

‘We run more trains a day than than virtually any other operator on the UK rail network and our Twitter account has nearly 240,000 followers.

‘It is an important way for us to give our customers important real-time information on their services and answer their queries. Whether or not any issues are within our control, we proactively let our passengers know what to expect on their journeys. We also believe it’s right to say sorry when things don’t run smoothly.’