TRAIN bosses have apologised after commuters were faced with huge queues at Chalkwell train station after newly-installed ticket machines “took too long to work” yesterday morning.

Commuters reported due to the new payment machines being installed, the usual morning waits were taking considerably longer.

The Echo reported last week that c2c had pledged to bring in extra staff after commuters complained of chaotic queues as the new system began rolling out.

The new ticketing system is rolling out in stations across south Essex to try and improve the booking process. The website has been replaced and customer accounts are being transferred.

The mobile app is also being replaced, meaning customers cannot use it to buy tickets until the new one launches.

Commuters have reported long delays as a result of the change, citing long queues to ticket machines at railway stations.

The system was installed at Benfleet Station on Wednesday and Leigh Station on Monday.

Commuter Martyn Ballam said: “They have introduced new payment machines which are slower and I have been advised not to use smart card.

“The staff had the power to authorise payment at destination but they didn’t.”

Commuter Ross Bush said: “I think they should extend the London Oyster Cards to cover the whole of the c2c network beyond Upminster, then perhaps it would eliminate these problems or at least make life a lot quicker and easier for passengers.”

Martin Hayhurst recommended people use their contactless cards to help ease queues.

He said: “Using my credit card on the underground recently was incredibly simple and quick. You don’t need to input a destination as the software knows when you use your card at your destination to leave the station.”

A 50-year-old commuter from Shoebury said the train line had also had issues with civil servants accessing their pre-paid tickets.

He said: “With our system we register for tickets then get given a code to take to the machines to print out. But these days the machines are never working, so I have to get on and travel all the way to London with no ticket before accessing it at Fenchurch Street. I’m left feeling so vulnerable and have already been challenged when I’m allowed to travel.”

A c2c spokesman said: “We are very sorry that customers experienced long queues at Chalkwell station on Tuesday morning. We have introduced a new ticketing system across our route and while it settles in, this has certainly caused queuing at peak times.

“From Wednesday morning we will be putting extra staff at Chalkwell station with handheld ticket machines to provide more ticket selling and reduce wait times.

“Chalkwell is a very busy station and while the ticket offices are open as usual we would encourage passengers buy their tickets online to avoid queues. Smartcard customers can buy in advance and collect their ticket by tapping on the gates as they walk through.

"We have also contacted all of our customers who experienced issues with our Flexi tickets last month to arrange for them to receive new replacement Smartcards.”