Transport for the North calls on Northern to compensate passengers and reduce fares

Transport for the North has issued a strongly-worded statement following timetable changes by Northern Rail which have seen more than 2,000 Northern services cancelled.

The regional transport body said that passengers expected better and has called for passengers to receive compensation, for ticket prices to be reduced for customers experiencing disruption and also called on the train franchise to ensure that any services in total are at least as good as they were before the introduction of the new timetable.

John Cridland, chairman of Transport for the North, said: “We stand firmly with passengers across the North - they expect and deserve better. The patience of residents, businesses and visitors in the North has been tested. They have been inconvenienced and disrupted and need a rail service that they can rely on.

“As the voice of the Northern civic and business leaders, we call for Northern to:

  • Ensure any services in total are at least as good as they were before the introduction of the new timetable on 20 May 2018
  • Provide clear communication to customers so that they can plan with confidence
  • Compensate passengers who have bought advance or season tickets for the next two months, given the reduced level of service
  • Reduce the cost of journeys for customers experiencing disruption
  • Arrange for their tickets to be accepted on other rail operators and modes of transport, to provide passengers with an alternative route
  • Engage businesses and northern leaders on any future changes that may impact passengers

“We are deeply disappointed that - two weeks in from the timetable change - we are not yet seeing more improvement," Cridland said. We will scrutinise, challenge and track services over the coming days. We, as a group, commit to communities in the north to speak on their behalf and demand a service that is fit for purpose,” he said.

The problems across the Northern network have led Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to back calls for compensation for passengers, warning that if Northern was not prepared to fund a compensation package and reduced fares voluntarily, then fines should be imposed to pay for it.

“Northern have already left people seriously out of pocket and turned their lives upside down with their chaotic services,” said Burnham. He also said that the company should not be allowed to profit from the reduction in services. ““Northern are set to benefit financially from this emergency timetable. It is the company, and not the passengers, who should pay the price for their mismanagement,” he said.

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