Transport Focus report rail passengers’ call for better services in Wales
Posted: 29 June 2017 | | 1 comment
Passengers travelling on Wales and Borders services are calling for an overhaul of tired and overcrowded train services when a new contract is awarded.
Passengers travelling on Wales and Borders services are calling for an overhaul of tired and overcrowded train services when a new contract is awarded, reports Transport Focus.
Good staff but better service needed
Passengers’ top priorities for the next operator include more seats and more space to deal with overcrowding; a more punctual and reliable service; and new trains. Passengers say they find current facilities and stations outdated and in need of improvement.
Passengers do, however, rate their local staff highly and see them as generally friendly, helpful and approachable. Transport Focus is calling on the next operator to build on this good relationship between local staff and passengers, to develop a more positive image of the new service and operator.
Calls for planning clarity
Passengers would like to see Transport for Wales, Welsh Government, Network Rail and the next operator of the Wales and Borders rail service put forward a clear plan to address these issues. The current Arriva Trains Wales franchise was contracted on a ‘zero growth’ basis, with no investment made to cope with the surge in passenger numbers. In the future passengers must see a commitment to investment from the new service to meet growing demand and expectations for improved quality across the network.
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus, said: “Many passengers in Wales are currently travelling on trains well past their sell-by date. Older trains, carrying more passengers than the number of seats available, make for an uncomfortable journey. Passengers deserve better.
“Persistent delays to services on parts of the current Arriva Trains Wales network have diminished the expectations of passengers. It’s important that the next operator and Network Rail get the basics right to rebuild trust with passengers.
New contract provides new opportunity
Anthony Smith continues: “The competition for the next Wales and Borders operator provides a great opportunity to get a good deal for passengers. Transport for Wales, Welsh Government and the next Wales and Borders operator need to listen to passengers and take action to improve future services.”