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Standing room only rail misery for one in four Sussex passengers
One in four rail commuters are forced to stand during peak times – despite paying up to £4,000 a year.
Southern passengers are faced with some of the most crowded rush hour trains in the country, Government figures reveal.
Twenty-five per cent of passengers have to stand during the morning rush hour on Southern services.
Only passengers on London Overground services (48%) and South West Trains (28%) were faced with more crowded services.
Southern operates 300 trains in south London, Sussex, Surrey and parts of Kent and Hampshire with nearly half a million journeys made each day.
Brighton to London commuter Christopher Maynard said he was not surprised by the findings.
He said: “For the money it’s a bit of a nightmare. I don’t pay all that money just to stand up for an hour.
“If you want a seat you have to knowwhich doors to use. If you get on after Three Bridges you’re pretty much standing all the way.
"Coming back from London to Brighton you can end up standing for a full hour.
“It’s OK getting on at 6am but any later and you won’t get a seat.”
It has also emerged commuters have no legal protection against hot carriages after some heatwave temperatures soared above the legislated temperatures limits for farm animals.
Anthony Smith, of independent watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “The continuation of significant long-terminvestment is necessary to not only reduce overcrowding, but to ensure that it doesn’t get worse if passenger numbers increase as predicted.”
Transport Minister and Lewes MP Norman Baker said: “Climbing on to a very crowded train is an unpleasant experience and I sympathise with passengers using these services.
“I urge train operators to do what they can on these particular trains. The department is working closely with the industry to ensure this issue is tackled.”
Southern Rail said it would be introducing 4,000 new seats on its busiest routes in December.
A spokesperson said: “These extra trains will increase capacity in our Metro area by more than 10%. In addition, we have recently ordered 40 more carriages which will be deployed on our network by the end of 2014.”
The Thameslink programme is expected to provide 12 car trains on the Brighton mainline.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said trains were carrying record passengers with overcrowding figures decreasing.
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