Keeping the rail industry on track for passengers

17 August 2018

For GTR passengers planning journeys online there are shoots of a recovery as timetables, that include weekend engineering works, are now being uploaded into online journey planners one week in advance.  Up until recently passengers wanting to travel overnight/at weekends were being told alterations might not be reflected online until 20.00 the day before travel. Whilst this modest improvement is welcome, there is a much work to be done to hit the revised industry target of T-6, where passengers should be able to plan a journey confidently six weeks ahead.

We continue to press GTR and other operators, who miss this target, to do all they can to help restore passenger confidence in information provided about train times.  Where the timetables shown have not been amended because of engineering works, we expect passengers to be given both a clear warning and a firm indication of when the appropriate updates will be made. To check whether engineering works might impact your journey over coming weeks, check on the national rail enquiries website.

Regards additional compensation that is going to be offered to Thameslink/Great Northern passengers most severely affected by the disruption following the May 20 timetable, we are advised that some passengers will be notified of their eligibility to claim at the end of August.

This is only the start of the process, and any season ticket holder not notified automatically will be given an opportunity to register a claim.

Details about who is considered eligible, for both Thameslink and Great Northern, can be found on this dedicated webpage. Whilst the information explains that non-season ticket holders are not eligible at this point, we remain hopeful the industry can reach an agreement that will give these passengers – who frequently travel on daily tickets –  an opportunity to claim. We encourage any passenger who travelled on these tickets regularly between 20 May and 28 July to retain your tickets as proof of travel, as these may help you with any application for compensation.  For those that haven’t kept tickets, we hope that proof of purchase will prove sufficient and will be pressing this point if agreement is reached to extend the scheme to non-season ticket holders.

Meanwhile, Northern and TransPennine Express season ticket holders have now started to receive additional compensation payments. We have been asking passengers on our Transport User Panel about their awareness of this provision and their experience of making a claim. We will soon publish our findings and will provide feedback to the train companies to help them improve communications and the application process.

We’re also awaiting further details about additional compensation for regular passengers who do not use season tickets. This is something we’ve called for throughout the recent timetable disruption. We want to ensure a scheme for these passengers will be both quick and easy as, ultimately, nothing less is required to help rebuild trust.

At the time of writing Northern passengers around the North West may we wondering whether their trains will run on Sunday. In recent weeks Northern have pre-emptively removed around 80 services from each Sunday timetable due to problems rostering enough staff. Some passengers will have appointments to make or flights to catch and may be wondering if they can rely on the train to get them there. Many more will wonder why this has become such a big problem in the North West? This ongoing uncertainty, compounded by the recent news that RMT strike action will severely disrupt Northern services on three consecutive weekends from 25 August to 8 September, is very damaging for passengers’ trust. For many Northern passengers the end to the disruption that began on 20 May doesn’t seem to be in sight.

Finally, over the next three weekends extensive engineering works take place on the West Coast route and no services will run into or out from London Euston. We have pressed operators and National Rail to make sure the information provided to passengers in the build up to this disruption is clear, accurate and helpful. Over this coming weekend we will be monitoring closely the quality of information provided and how passengers have coped.

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