PUBLIC dismay with the unacceptable state of the region’s railways was epitomised by reader reaction to The Yorkshire Post’s weekend revelations that Huddersfield, Sheffield and York now rank amongst the 10 worst performing main stations in the country.
They took to social media to say ‘enough is enough’ with Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff pledging to table a Parliamentary debate today to examine the record of rail operators Northern and TransPennine Express.
Six months after the botched introduction of a new timetable led to unprecedented chaos across the North, there is already considerable trepidation on the part of passengers ahead of next month’s changes.
And the abiding failure of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to provide an adequate political response to this crisis is illustrated by today’s announcement that a Rail Ombudsman is being established that will supposedly have the power to impose binding decisions on unresolved complaints between passengers and train companies.
It should never have taken this long to reach this point – this newspaper has previously argued that there needs to be a far greater focus on customer service when the Department for Transport awards rail franchises.
Instead of making it as awkward as possible for travellers to obtain recompense, presumably in the hope that they give up, this process needs to be far more simpler and straightforward from the outset. And one final point. This process would not be necessary if more trains actually ran on time in the first place – and this, for Mr Grayling’s benefit, still remains the number one objective moving forward.