AS the (very) long-suffering passengers of Northern take to social media to vent their frustration over the latest train delays, they should remember that this is not the fault of frontline staff.
Like commuters, they, too, are victims of the failures of past and present politicians, overpaid rail executives and decades of under-investment in infrastructure.
And while Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – Chris Grayling’s successor – has already indicated his displeasure to The Yorkshire Post after another slump in Northern’s monthly performance, and delays scrapping the antiquated Pacers, he must set out a timetable for reform on Thursday when he takes questions from MPs for the first time.
Passengers here can’t wait for the Keith Williams industry-wide review, and subsequent White Paper, before the Government acts.
First, they want to know when Northern will be stripped of its franchise. Just over one in two trains were on time in the last four weeks – a rate of performance which would lead to NHS doctors, teachers and other public servants losing their jobs.
Second, they have a right to be told how the rail industry intends to repay passengers for the inconvenience incurred. Though political leaders here want extra compensation for Pacer users, the Transport Focus watchdog wants a fares freeze extended to all of Northern’s services.
Third, what action will be taken against other operators, including TransPennine Express, after just 39.8 per cent of its ‘express’ trains were on time in the last four weeks? This risks making Northern look good by comparison.
Over to you Mr Shapps.