FURIOUS commuters who pay up to five grand a year for their season passes have branded the lack of direct trains to London Victoria a “disgrace”.

People have questioned why Southern Rail cannot operate one of its main lines from Brighton to Victoria, with no direct weekday trains operating into the station since January 4.

One person said their partner is looking to get a new job in Brighton due to finding the extra travel time every day hard to cope with.

Passengers currently looking to get to Victoria have to change at Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport or East Croydon which they say adds 25 minutes each way to their journey.

Southern Rail says a “reliable service” has always been at the heart of its decision making, adding that the current reduced timetable helps ensure services have remained consistent.

The train operator has stated in the past that Covid-19 and seasonal illnesses are having a “very large impact” on its workers just like the “rest of the rail and transport industry.”

Robin Newbold, who lives near Church Road in Hove, described the situation as “unending” and questioned why more priority has not been given for the Brighton to Victoria line.

The Argus: East Croydon is one of the stations that commuters can change at to get to Victoria, picture from Jack Taylor/Getty ImagesEast Croydon is one of the stations that commuters can change at to get to Victoria, picture from Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The 51-year-old said: “I just find it’s a disgrace that as the world seems to be opening up, they seem to be shutting down. They’re saying this about Covid but cases are falling at the moment, that’s the reason they’re giving for drivers not being able to work.

“I go once or twice a week at the moment but my partner goes in every day and is really suffering. There is no refunds given for the massive fares people are paying.

“We moved here in August and heard horror stories. The first few months, I was quite surprised how many trains there were from Brighton to Victoria. These last few weeks have just been, well my partner is looking for another job because he can’t cope with the travel every day.

“He’s looking for somewhere local because it’s so unpredictable. This thing where it’s a blanket decision of not travelling to Victoria at all is just ridiculous. The London Victoria to Brighton train is one of the main lines that Southern run.

“That’s the other infuriating thing, the lack of communication. They barely told the passengers anything. If they could turn around to us and say they’re not going to run trains until February 21 or whatever, at least that would give some clarity."

The Argus: Robin Newbold says Southern's services have been a "disgrace"Robin Newbold says Southern's services have been a "disgrace"

Southern is intending to bring direct weekday trains back from February 21, but noted there will still be delays on the Brighton mainline from February 19 to February 27 due to major planned engineering work.

Chief operating officer Angie Doll said: “Our customers tell us they want a reliable service, not lots of last-minute cancellations and that has always been at the heart of our decision making.

“This timetable ensures services are as reliable as possible when fewer staff are available due to the effects of coronavirus. We’re really sorry if this affects your journey.

“As before, we’d strongly urge people to check before they travel for the latest information and to leave extra time for their journeys.”

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