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Southeastern rewards staff with shopping vouchers despite travel chaos for commuters

Train operator Southeastern has rewarded 4,000 members of staff with shopping vouchers for their hard work.

The employees were given the £25 shopping vouchers, which can be used at Sainsbury’s, Boots and Mothercare, in response to the way they have dealt with disruption at London Bridge.

The station is undergoing a £6.5bn renovation which has caused severe disruption for Kent’s commuters, who have had to cope with overcrowding, delays, cancellations and a new timetable.

Commuters packed at the station in January. Picture Lizzie Fenwick

Commuters packed at the station in January. Picture: Lizzie Fenwick

The move has been criticized by the Sevenoaks Rail Travellers’ Association.

Its chairman Tony Clayton told the Sunday Times: “Passengers fed up by overcrowding and disruption will say, ‘Where are our vouchers?’ It would be unfair for them to be angry at the staff; they should be angry at the company.”

However, Felipe Alviar-Baquero, of the Malling and District Rail Travellers’ Association, said: To be fair, Southeastern staff are very good considering the resources they are given.

“It’s not their fault that their management has been poor with the planning. They are the ones that have to face distressed and angry customers.”

An artist's impression of the new-look London Bridge Station

An artist’s impression of the new-look London Bridge Station

Pictures taken last month showed commuters jumping over and crawling under ticket barriers to escape overcrowding and desperately reach their trains before they left the station.

The work is being carried out by Network Rail and disruption is expected to last until 2018. A Southeastern spokesman: “Each employee received one £25 voucher.

“That was a one-off token of appreciation . . . to reflect the commitment of staff in helping passengers and the hard work that has gone into delivering the large-scale changes in the new year.”

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