Rail boss condemned for ordering commuters out of first class carriage on late and packed train

Nick Reilly
Contributor
Mark Boon has faced condemnation for taking up two seats in first class (SWNS)

A commuter has claimed this photo shows the moment that a Southern Rail boss took up TWO seats in first class on a packed train – after he prevented economy passengers from entering the carriage.

Emma Fitzpatrick says that Mark Boon – Operations Director of parent company Govia – told passengers to stay out of the empty cart on a ‘late and very packed’ service.

Boon then spread out in comfort – reportedly placing his bag on the empty seat beside him – while customers had to squeeze into the rammed doorway and adjoining carriage.

The image has sparked mass outrage on social media among Southern Rail passengers who have endured months of delays amid staff strikes.

Mark Boon has been criticised for taking two seats on the packed train (not pictured)

Emma, a hair stylist from Croydon, South London, claims Mr Boon was even giving his business card out to passengers as he turned them away.

Posting on Twitter, Emma wrote: ‘Totally shocked to see #GoviaRailway Head of Operations, Mark Boon, telling all commuters to stay out of an EMPTY First Class carriage on a LATE & very packed train this morning.

‘Meanwhile he took up two seats IN there.’

She continued: ‘It was a London bound Southern Train that arrived into London Victoria at approx 11.45am this morning.

“I still can’t believe it! He even handed his business card to the people he was turning away! Talk about rubbing salt into commuters wounds.’

Southern Rail have faced frequent criticism

Emma said that she joined the train mid-route before it terminated at London Victoria. She described the other passengers as a ‘nice, quiet bunch of people’.

Mr Boon is the Head of Network Operations at GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway), which operates Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern, and the Gatwick Express.

His LinkedIn profile boasts of a ‘career history spanning nearly 30 years that combines successful project management and day to delivery’.

Mr Boon was crowned ‘Customer Service Manager of the Year’ while working for South West Trains in 2015.

Within 24 hours of sharing the photo, Emma’s Tweet was shared 350 times – with plenty of outraged Twitter users sharing their disdain.

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Richie Northcote wrote: ‘Disgusting. There’s going to be some kind of commuter/passenger revolt soon, I can feel it bubbling.

Sarah Cuppa, from Sussex, called Mr Boon a “scumbag”, writing: ‘Almost certainly been declassified if people are standing, as that’s standard practice on Southern.

‘He’s just a scumbag.’

Govia Thameslink Railway has confirmed that Mark Boon prevented passengers from using first class seats during the packed service.

A spokesperson said: ‘Passengers need a first class ticket to travel in first class and there were other people with first class tickets in this compartment.

‘This was an 11am off-peak service running just six minutes late and, while the front coaches were busy, there were seats and space in the rear coaches, as Mr Boon explained.’