“ Formerly known as 'One', the National Express East Anglia operates local, suburban and express services in the east of England. „
I travel by this service on most days of the week, including weekends. Travelling by train is very very pricey and takes a considerable chunk of my income. The mantra of using public transport is well in theory but rather than decreasing the cost of travel by train, most governments in UK aim to price people out of the cars - trying to generate income for themselves and squeezing the income of the populace even more.
Travelling by NXEA is poor value for money especially over weekends. If you think that I am exaggerating then look for service alterations tab on their website and click it. Most services to London are interrupted by works, which usually mean the journey being extended by an hour and an intermediate bus journey. Don't use the train, especially if you have kids- you will be dragging them all over different stations. If you are travelling to Lodon from the East, if you can - drive to a station like Newbury park and take the Underground into City. Far easier, cheaper and convenient.
We're constantly being encouraging to use public transport instead of cars.
The think tanks that tell us this need to take a weeks worth of journey's on National Express East Anglia.
Recently I have been commuting using their service, from Rochford (near Southend Victoria) to London Liverpool Street - and I wish had any other means of transport.
I work six days a week, and have to pay over £90 a week for the privilege. (That's roughly £360 a month - crazy.)
Last week I had a run in with the train company, as I was delayed two days in a row - unacceptable for me, I work to tight deadlines and my pet hate is being late.
It prompted me to complain. There is something about complaining that makes me feel better about the situation and I urge people to do it more.
Here is the copy of the letter if you care to take a look:
I am writing to outline my shear misery endured on your Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street line on Friday 21st May and Saturday 22nd May 2010 and am asking for a refund on my weekly ticket as a result.
On Friday, the 08.17 train was delayed by about half an hour due to a 'point,' failure (which means absolutely nothing to me). Instead of any updates given, there was just the generic robotic announcer declaring every couple of minutes that the train was delayed and expected to arrive in 'xx minutes.' This resulted in me being late for my job, much to my employer's despair.
I can understand there are going to be delays from time to time, so just had to accept it.
Then on Saturday (I work on Saturday's also) I went to get on the 08.32 train to Liverpool Street. This train had to go to Wickford, where I had to get off and get on a replacement bus. The replacement bus took an age, but finally got me to Shenfield. Apparently some pikey's had stolen the cables? Does the commuter's money not go on putting up defences for such idiotic acts of vandalism?
When I got here, in a rush and panic where I was late (I am a finance consumer journalist for a national newspaper, hence the need to be in on time and the need for me to complain) I was ushered onto the 'next available train to Liverpool Street.'
Instead of it being a swift stop at Stratford and then to Liverpool Street, the train went to all of the little stops (ie Goodmayes, Seven Kings) adding at least another twenty minutes to my journey and my frustration begun to grow. All in all, I ended up turning up to work an hour late.
I think that it is unacceptable that a train costing an astonishing and eye-watering £90.60 a week (surely one of the most overpriced lines for one of the worst services, both awful trains and constant late running's) can have so many problems.
Is it too much to ask for the service to be running as scheduled for this kind of money?
The reason I am buying a weekly (I thought I may as well add) is that I am currently in the process of moving to London, just so I do not have to endure the misery of your train line any longer. I can actually rent a house and get to work on time for the same money as I spend on your trains. I look forward to next year when the National Express East Anglia franchise expires...
Whoever picks this e-mail up, I am sorry for the ranting nature of this letter, but I just cannot take it anymore!
I look forward to your hasty response. I also have a copy of my receipt for my blood ticket to send to you if need be.
Maybe this was a little bit over excessive, but they got back to me yesterday to ask for me to send the receipt and apologising.
So for that they can have an extra star.
It's not just the delays that are awful on this line, it is the actual quality of the trains as well.
They are overcrowded, dirty and look like something commissioned from the 60's, with seat patterns that could give you a seizure.
The toilets I avoid, but when nature calls and there is nothing you can do, I'd rather do my number ones and twos out the window, the toilets are that disgusting.
And the stations. Bricks and mortar, with no character, no charm and certainly no decent facilities.
National Express East Anglia, you serve my home town - I wish you didn't, or at least attempt to sort it out.