We paid £100 in taxi fares af­ter train was axed amid rail chaos

Ormskirk Advertiser - - £100 Taxi Bill For Oap Pair Stranded In Rail Chaos -

TWO pen­sion­ers had to pay a £100 taxi fare af­ter be­ing stranded at Manchester Air­port when they fell vic­tim to the on­go­ing North­ern Rail cri­sis.

Bobby Hankey, 81, and David Parkin­son, 71, had booked a re­turn ticket to South­port af­ter their flight from Spain on Satur­day, May 26 only to ar­rive to find no trains were run­ning to South­port.

The net­work has been plagued by huge num­bers of de­lays and can­cel­la­tions since the in­tro­duc­tion of a new timetable on May 20, caus­ing ma­jor dis­rup­tion to trav­ellers.

Sev­eral com­muters in the re­gion have said that the dis­rup­tion has been so bad that they have had to leave their jobs.

Bobby la­belled the strug­gling net­work a “dis­grace”, af­ter hav­ing booked a re­turn ticket upon her de­par­ture from South­port six days ear­lier.

She has ap­plied for com­pen­sa­tion for the £20.70 fares both pas­sen­gers paid, but re­mains out of pocket for the cost of the taxi.

She said: “We got back to Manchester Air­port for the train, but the place was de­serted.

“We ex­plained to the lady at the desk our sit­u­a­tion and she said there was noth­ing she could do.”

The pair were then told they could sleep on the plat­form and wait for the first train in the morn­ing.

“We’re not go­ing to do that at our age,” she said. “Then we found out there were more prob­lems with the trains in the morn­ing anyway, there were no di­rect ones.

“I’m very cross about it, it’s a dis­grace.

“Why would they sell us a ticket if there wasn’t a train?”

Pas­sen­gers have faced more mis­ery since the in­tro­duc­tion of an emer­gency timetable on Mon­day, which cut 165 ser­vices – 6% – each day.

The re­vised sched­ule was in­tended to help North­ern better cope with its prob­lems, but pas­sen­gers have still been faced with can­cel­la­tions and de­lays.

Mary Booth said: “I can­not be­lieve North­ern has been al­lowed to con­tinue in this ou­tra­geous man­ner.

“I have had to can­cel hos­pi­tal ap­point­ments at the last minute be­cause trains don’t turn up. I have been turned off trains mid­way through my jour­ney and told to wait for the next train.

“The ser­vice is abom­inable.”

Katy Sum­ner said: “It took us four hours to get home from Manchester Air­port last week­end. Af­ter one train was can­celled, we waited for the next train.

“We got as far as Wi­gan only to be told ‘this train is now can­celled’, even though we were sat on it. The next train was an hour later. We ended up get­ting a taxi back to South­port with three other stranded pas­sen­gers.”

Paul Dodd said: “Manchester to Leeds ev­ery day, from around 8am to 12pm, then 2pm on­wards, on the way back there al­ways sees mul­ti­ple trains late or can­celled.

“Why do we have to put up with such a shoddy ser­vice?

“Re­na­tion­alise it or give it back to Abel­lio, the pre­vi­ous own­ers. At least they ran a punc­tual ser­vice.”

Politicians and pas­sen­gers are now calling for ac­tion to be take against North­ern, with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burn­ham say­ing an in­quiry should be held over whether the firm is fit to ful­fil its con­tract.

North­ern Rail bosses have promised the full timetable will be re­in­stated by the end of July and apol­o­gised to pas­sen­gers.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at North­ern, David Brown, said: “We have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion to train ser­vices, es­pe­cially around north Manchester, Bolton, Liver­pool, Black­pool and up to the Lake Dis­trict.

“I’d like to apol­o­gise for this un­ac­cept­able sit­u­a­tion and for the dis­rup­tion and in­con­ve­nience many pas­sen­gers have faced. We’re truly sorry for this and are work­ing hard to fix this.”

HAVE you been af­fected? Please email us at: visiter news@south­portvis­iter. co.uk or mes­sage us via the Visiter page on Facebook.

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