Following the latest Government advice for all but essential key workers to stay at home, we have today made a number of changes which will affect how we operate and interact with our customers over the coming weeks.
We have a vital role to play in keeping trains running so key workers like doctors and nurses can get to and from work. Therefore, our operational colleagues such as drivers, guards and signallers are still working to ensure that those who need to travel, can.
However, following the latest advice, other non-operational colleagues have been told to work from home to support the country’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
As a result, today we have temporarily:
- Closed the majority of our ticket offices – Waterloo, Clapham Jct, Richmond, Wimbledon, Surbiton, Woking, Guildford, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Salisbury, Southampton Ctl and Bournemouth ticket office will remain open but will only accept card payments.
- Removed catering from our trains.
- Closed our lost property office.
- Stopped accepting cash payments at our ticket machines – customers can still continue to buy tickets online and on the SWR app.
- Restricted the operations of our contact centre – which will have a significant impact on our ability to process delay-repay applications.
We know this will be frustrating for many of our customers, we don’t take decisions such as these lightly, but we believe these are the right actions to take in the current situation and the challenges the country is facing and will ensure we meet our own obligations to protect our colleagues at SWR.
These are however interim arrangements, and we are urgently looking at alternative ways of handling refunds and delay-repay applications that fall in line with the Government’s advice.
Our priority is now on keeping our trains running for the doctors, nurses, supermarket workers, police and other essential service workers who have to still get to work. We urge our customers to follow the Government’s advice and not travel on our trains if they are not a key worker.
Where passengers do have to still travel, and need assistance or advice:
- Guards will still be on our trains
- Colleagues will still be available at most stations
- Our Twitter team will be able to provide essential journey information
- Our website will have the latest information at southwesternrailway.com/coronavirus
- Train time information can still be found at nationalrail.co.uk
Whilst our Twitter team will be providing essential journey information, they will not be able to respond to non-essential enquiries such as those regarding refunds. We need to make sure they are able to provide essential journey information to key workers as a priority.
Additionally, whilst guards and station colleagues will still be on our trains and at our stations, we are advising them to keep a safe social distance and minimise interactions with customers. They will of course be on hand to help, especially where something does not look right, so too will our Rail Community Officers and British Transport Police who are contactable by texting on 61016 or phoning 0800 405 040.
We all have a vital role in beating this pandemic and urge everyone to help us to keep our trains running for key workers and not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.