Rail franchises operators & contracts

11.07.18

GTR manager takes up two seats on packed train, tells passengers they can’t share empty carriage

A high-ranking manager at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been criticised after taking up two first class seats on a full train and preventing economy passengers using the carriage.

Passenger Emma Fitzpatrick photographed Mark Boon, head of network operations at GTR, placing his bag on an empty seat next to him whilst telling passengers to stay out of the carriage on a “late and very packed” service.

 

 Boon was then said to have spread out in comfort on the London-bound Southern train that arrived into London Victoria at around 11:45am this morning, whilst passengers in economy faced cramped conditions.

The news has infuriated Southern Rail users— part of GTR’s network services across the country — following weeks of disruptions and cancellations to major services.

Fitzpatrick went on: “I still can't believe it! He even handed his business card out to the people that he was turning away!”

GTR has featured heavily in the headlines recently: last month its chief executive Charles Horton resigned citing “frustrations” from passengers who endured a chaotic new timetable in May.

GTR suffered a second consecutive year where passenger numbers fell, research found last month. Earlier this month government sources claimed GTR could lose its franchise if services do not improve after the implementation of a new timetable on 15 July.

A GTR spokesperson said: "Passengers need a first-class ticket to travel in first class and there were other people with first class tickets in this compartment.

“This was an 11am off-peak service running just six minutes late and, while the front coaches were busy, there were seats and space in the rear coaches, as Mr Boon explained."

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Image credit: Dominic Lipinski, PA Images

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