Since the new GTR train timetable was introduced on 20 May, the reliability of the local rail service has plummeted. Delays, cancellations and slower services are unacceptable.
See below: the letter Mark Prisk sent to Govia's CEO Charles Horton.
Dear Mr Horton,
I am writing to you regarding the new GTR service timetable, which came into effect on 20 May. Since that date the reliability of the service has plummeted. This is despite clear assurances by you and your staff beforehand that sufficient preparations had been made.
My office has been deluged with correspondence from frustrated rail passengers, in particular those who commute at peak times. They have expressed a variety of concerns regarding reduced services, slower journeys, delayed arrivals, cancellations and – as a result – reduced quality of life. With their permission, I include excerpts of their correspondence below. I would appreciate your responses to their individual points, as well as your reassurance that services will be improved, and specifically how you plan to implement those improvements.
‘I travel from Hertford North to Moorgate 2 days a week on the 7.46 which arrives in Moorgate at 8.30. The new timetable means less choice (in terms of less trains available to catch around this time) and a longer journey time, with the 7.44 arriving at 8.39.
‘My time as a busy working mum with 3 children is very precious and extending my working day means less time with my kids. These changes also mean accepting a later arrival at work or catching an earlier train (which means getting my kids up earlier - so impacts a whole household).’
- Ms D
‘Yet again our 07.32 from Hertford has been cancelled. So that's twice this week that I am now late into work and that people are on an vastly overcrowded train like cattle.’
- Ms B
‘We used to have journey times of just over 40 minutes into Moorgate with the more 'express' trains at peak hour. It's now looking like the fastest is 51 minutes - that's an extra
1h30 of time spent on these trains every week! The morning train I used to take is now slower, so I need to get the one before in order to get to work on time.’
- Ms G
‘They say that from the 20th May there will be more trains during the peak morning hours between 6am & 8am, but there will be 1 less train between 7am & 8am and 1 extra train between 6am & 7am. As a mathematician, I’ve worked that out that the 1 more train between 6-7am is cancelled out by the 1 less train 7-8am, so how can there possibly be more trains between 6-8am.’
- Mr S
I have now received your proposed temporary timetable following the above problems. Rushing this out may be designed to plug the gaps, but why should we believe that this will be any more reliable than the May 20th timetable? How have you communicated this timetable to my constituents? How long will it last for?
I look forward to your response to my constituents’ concerns and my points above. You should be aware that I am planning to meet with Ministers to express my real concern at the dreadful way this has been implemented and to say that unless the situation can be rectified quickly I would ask that that your franchise be revoked.
Mark Prisk FRICS MP
(Hertford & Stortford)