We paid £100 in taxi fares after train was axed amid 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.”
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