Public transport is something with which the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre does not trouble himself: he is routinely chauffeured from home to City apartment to office and back. So he has no means of knowing when his hacks make a surprise discovery on the subject, or whether they are just recycling another press release.This was underlined by a piece in today’s Daily Mail laying into train operator South West Trains (SWT) who operate services out of London’s Waterloo terminus. Under the by-line of Emily Andrews is an apparent discovery that some of SWT’s fleet has interiors that seat five across the coach.
Under Mail attack: SWT's Desiro trains
But it’s not a new practice, so no discovery has been made: all that Dacre’s hacks are doing is allowing self promoting Tory MP Penny Mordaunt to complain about the use of trains with “three by two” seating on SWT’s services between London and her constituency town of Portsmouth.
SWT did this as part of a reshuffle of their fleet, which enabled them to outbid rivals and obtain a renewal of their franchise. So Ms Mordaunt and her supporters at the Daily Mail should be grumbling at the Government, and the way that rail franchises are won and retained, rather than shooting the messenger.Moreover, when the piece tells that “Regular carriages have only two seats either side of the aisle”, this too shows ignorance of many passengers’ travelling environment. Trains with “three by two” seating have been around for decades (like since World War 2, and maybe before), including on the London to Portsmouth line – the only difference being that they now turn up on almost all services.