‘200 pas­sen­gers left on sta­tions daily’

Claim af­ter timetable chaos in county

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - ROB PAR­SONS PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR ■ Email: rob.par­[email protected]­me­dia.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @york­shire­post

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.

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