Network Rail regulation and performance

01.06.18

Communication with passengers ‘woeful’ after timetable changes

The major disruption faced by passengers following rail timetable changes could be investigated by MPs.

Lilian Greenwood, chair of the Transport Committee, said that the transport secretary, Network Rail and the train operating companies have questions to answer about the introduction of the timetables and their management of the disruption.

Earlier in the week, transport secretary Chris Grayling promised to rectify the “wholly unsatisfactory” levels of disruption, and yesterday, the mayor of Greater Manchester called on the government to escalate its response to the “fiasco.”

However, in a recent interview with the Times, Manfred Rudhart, chief executive of Arriva, said that the delays could last until August.

The committee has reportedly discussed the problems and is watching the situation carefully.

On Monday, Greenwood will ask the committee to review the situation on the Northern and Govia Thameslink franchises, which have been particularly affected.

“The high-level performance measures are very poor, but in aggregate they don’t tell the full story of the individual passengers whose regular journeys are disrupted day after day by cancellations, part-cancellations, short-formations that are overcrowded, rail-replacement buses and last-minute changes to timetables,” the chair said.

“The secretary of state, Network Rail and the train operating companies have questions to answer about the introduction of the timetables but also their management of the disruption, where once again communication with passengers has been woeful,” she added.

Greenwood said that as well as issuing apologies, “they should be accounting for the decisions they took that led to this complete shambles.”

Whilst “a plethora” of reviews have been commissioned, she cautioned that it is not clear how these will relate to each other and be coordinated, but said that “the response to confusion cannot be more confusion.”

Top image: Johnny Green PA Images

 

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