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Brighton Journal | 21st January 2020

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Southern Fail Strikes Again: Rail Boss Takes Up Two Seats and Refuses to Move

Southern Fail Strikes Again: Rail Boss Takes Up Two Seats and Refuses to Move
Hannah Midgley

Southern Rail commuters have now enjoyed the cherry on top of what can only be described as months of misery as pictures emerge of Mark Boon – head of Operations for Southern Rail – taking up two seats on a late and packed train.

The picture, originally posted by Emma FitzPatrick on Twitter, has now been retweeted an amazing 1,400 times, and counting, by disgruntled Southern Rail users. According to FitzPatrick, the image was taken on a London bound train, on Tuesday morning, presumably full of commuters.

To add insult to injury, Boon had the audacity to insist that anyone not holding a first class ticket should vacate the carriage – despite there only being standing room throughout the train. However, whilst many paying customers were without a seat, as the image shows, Boon’s bag and suit jacket fortunately found room to rest on the journey.

Image via Emma FitzPatrick

In one more kick to the teeth, Boon even handed out his business cards to the people he was attempting to turf out of his carriage, which seemingly only gained him and his company further bad press.

This incident also comes with very poor timing: other rail companies, such as Thameslink, have made the decision to declassify first class carriages on a lot of their services, as a result of the recent major disruptions. Boon’s attitude in comparison this move of behalf of other more compassionate rail companies will not serve Southern Rail well.

Many angry rail users have taken to Twitter following the incident to voice their disgust:

In a statement made to BBC Sussex, GoviaThameslink, the umbrella company in charge of Southern Rail, said: “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.”

However, Mr Boon’s half hearted explanation doesn’t account for the fact there were people forced to stand behind him, whilst he occupied two seats, nor his blatant disregard for the misery endured daily by commuters.

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