‘200 passengers left on stations daily’
Claim after timetable chaos in county
TRANSPORT: As many as 200 passengers are left on station platforms every day around West Yorkshire, according to the leader of the county’s biggest local authority.
Coun Judith Blake made the claim after an inquiry into timetable chaos said the interests of passengers should be a “central consideration”.
AS MANY as 200 passengers are left on station platforms every day around West Yorkshire, according to the leader of the county’s biggest local authority.
Leader of Leeds City Council Leeds City Coun Judith Blake made the claim after an inquiry into this summer’s train timetable chaos recommended that the interests of passengers should be a “central consideration” for future major projects.
The review by Office of Rail and Road (ORR) chairman Professor Stephen Glaister called for the rail industry to improve how information is provided to customers.
Government-owned company Network Rail was ordered by the watchdog to evaluate the way new services are added to timetables.
The recommendations published yesterday by the ORR form the second phase of its review. The first phase considered the causes of the disruption after the May timetable launch and led to criticism of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling after it was found that “nobody took charge”.
Prof Glaister said: “Passengers were let down by the rail industry on May 20 and the weeks that followed. We found systemic failures that needed to be resolved in order to reduce the possibility that passengers have to endure these conditions again.
“Our recommendations will now mean that, in every project, impact on passengers will be a central consideration – as it should always be. We are pleased with the improvements that have been made so far and expect our recommendations, which can be implemented immediately, to bring more benefits.”
Coun Blake, who leads on transport for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “At the root of the chaotic introduction of the new timetable in May was a failure to put the interests of passengers first when decisions were taken and I am pleased today’s report highlights the need to urgently address the culture of the rail industry to prevent a repetition. The review I am co-chairing will set out recommendations to ensure accountability to passengers in the delivery of rail services across the North of England when it reports early in the New Year.
“Passengers continue to experience poor punctuality and reliability with as many as 200 a day left on station platforms in our region and we continue to press the operators and Network Rail to take action to deliver the service the North of England deserves.
“We also need significant investment in infrastructure to sustain the growth in rail use and help us deliver our inclusive growth ambitions.”
This week, The Yorkshire Post revealed that rail punctuality in the North is now even worse than during the immediate aftermath of the May timetable rollout fiasco – with almost 80 trains per day being cancelled by the region’s two biggest operators and overcrowded services frequently running with reduced numbers of carriages.
New analysis – published six months to the day that The Yorkshire Post joined other regional newspapers in a One North campaign demanding urgent improvements – shows that only 62 per cent of TransPennine Express services and 67 per cent of Northern services arrived on time last month.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Passengers were badly let down in May and we apologise for the part we played in that.
“Network Rail is fully committed to working closely with our industry partners to return performance to the levels our passengers expect and deserve and making sure our capacity to deliver change matches those expectations as well.
“We agree that a whole-system approach to timetable planning and implementation, with effective oversight and accountability, is the way forward.”
In every project, passengers will be a central consideration. Professor Stephen Glaister
JUDITH BLAKE: Highlighted the problems faced by rail passengers.