The Metro Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham have said that Northern Rail should lose its franchise if it fails to adhere to the agreed Action Plan.
A phone call between the two and the Transport Secretary Chris Graying took place earlier today and say the Metro Mayors, it was welcome but took too long in coming. Northern passengers have endured months of misery and it should not have taken this long to secure a response from the Government adding that the discussion revealed is that there is still considerable distance between the Government’s view of this situation and ours.
The two said that there needs to be a shared and agreed analysis of the causes of the problem developed quickly between Northern, Transport for the North (TfN) partners and the Department for Transport (DfT). This does not exist at the moment they say and talkk by government ministers of “teething problems” suggests that these are only recent problems linked to the new timetable, when in fact Northern passengers have faced disruption over a much longer period of time.
Any solution needs to address the endemic staffing shortage in order to avoid any repeat.
Secondly, Northern’s Action Plan must be published and must include clear dates and milestones for when passengers can expect to see an improvement so Northern can properly be held to account. The travelling public need to be given certainty about what services will be running and when and
Thirdly, there needs to be an agreed and urgent deadline for when the significant backlog of outstanding Delay Repay claims will be dealt with, along with the introduction of a broader compensation offer for regular users given the scale of the disruption, paid for by fines levied at Arriva Rail North.
“Chaos on the North’s rail network has been so extreme and so prolonged that as a company Northern have lost the benefit of the doubt. They simply cannot be permitted to keep inflicting a miserable sub-standard service on the hundreds of thousands of passengers across our region who have had to endure dire train travel for far too long.