Passengers were left fuming when a rail replacement bus left them stranded at Lewes, on their way back to Eastbourne.
On Saturday night, around 30 passengers from London Victoria had to catch a rail replacement bus from Three Bridges to Lewes in order to catch the last train to Eastbourne.
However, the bus left Three Bridges late, resulting in the passengers missing the 2am train. The bus driver left, and many were stranded at Lewes, having to get taxis back to Eastbourne.
Mike Whitehead and his girlfriend paid £44 each for a return from Eastbourne to London Victoria, and called the service ‘disgusting’.
“When we finally arrived in Lewes we found the station closed, no members of staff available, and no train waiting at the platform. Somebody should lose their job over that kind of customer care. A company like theirs should not be able to get away with running a service of this kind.
“I can’t believe I gave Southern Rail £44 to dump me somewhere with little hope of getting home. I finally arrived home just before 4am.”
Paul McGivern said, “Myself, my girlfriend and the other passengers got to the doors of Lewes train station to find these were locked. Upon the realisation of this, a number of passengers tried to stop the replacement bus from driving off. The bus driver swerved around them and sped off, and you can only assume, this action was to not accept any responsibility for the situation unfolding.”
Frankie Farrell was travelling with friends, and said, “Many passengers had to pay for a taxi, yet due to limited to supply of taxis had we not been able to get a lift, we [all minors under 18] would have had to wait for the first train in the freezing conditions.”
The customers are now seeking compensation.
A Southern Rail spokesman said, “The bus that arrived at Lewes at 1.45am was possibly running late. Of the two last buses that left Three Bridges, one left on time, the other was asked by station staff to wait for a late running train.
“Passengers were transferred to one of the buses until it was full which then set off for Lewes. This arrived at the station at 1.55am. The other bus arrived at Lewes after 2am.
“With that in mind, we would like to apologise to passengers who missed their connection and to get in touch with our Customer Services department on 03451 27 29 20.”