MP demands answers from train firm over rise in passenger complaints

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2018

View of Weston-super-Mare Railway Station.

View of Weston-super-Mare Railway Station.

Archant

Weston’s MP is calling for the rail firm responsible for North Somerset’s trains to explain how it intends to tackle delays faced by commuters on a regular basis.

Weston Railway Station.Weston Railway Station.

The Mercury reported two weeks ago rail operator Great Western Railway has seen a 60 per cent increase in complaints in the past year.

Figures show 4.6 per cent of trains were delayed by 30-120 minutes or cancelled altogether this year compared to 2.7 per cent the year before.

MORE: Complaints about trains rise by 60 per cent as Weston commuters struggle to get to work on time.

Weston MP John Penrose said in a letter to GWR’s managing director: “I’m writing about recent statistics showing a rise in the number of trains arriving significantly late or being cancelled altogether.

“In January this year you were optimistic Weston’s rail services were about to improve, with new higher capacity trains and more regular services too.

“As I said then, our train service is hugely important for local people, especially those commuting to Bristol, who are looking for greener, more comfortable and reliable alternatives to using their cars. I’m also concerned about the associated rise in customers who’ve had to complain about the service they’re receiving.

“At the moment it seems the service is getting worse rather than better, as promised just a few months ago.

“How are you tackling the problems local commuters are experiencing, please?”

Conservative Party candidate John Penrose. Picture: Eleanor YoungConservative Party candidate John Penrose. Picture: Eleanor Young

Mr Penrose said a better rail service was ‘vital’ to give people a decent alternative to using their cars.

He said: “Otherwise we’ll only add to the traffic jams and congestion around the M5 ‘malfunction junction’ J21.”

GWR previously told the Mercury it was making ‘visible and tangible’ progress towards upgrading its infrastructure and trains.

Its spokesman added: “As we approach the final stages of the work, we are only too aware performance in some areas of the GWR network has been impacted. The progress we have made has come at a price, as Network Rail does more engineering work, in less time, to meet the tough timescales involved.

“In turn, this has put pressure on with wider punctuality and reliability being challenged.”

Mercury readers said cancellations regularly made them late for work, and said the situation was getting worse.

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