The Mayor of Greater Manchester has reacted to the rise in rail passenger fares by warning that 2019 must be a year when “measurable improvement” is felt in the North of England.
Andy Burnham was speaking after train fares officially rose by 3.1%, as was confirmed at the end of November 2018 by the Rail Delivery Group.
The North of England has endured a testing and miserable time of it since May 2018, when timetable changes led to severe disruption of services, with Northern rail in particular failing its passengers.
Services were reduced and many cancelled because of the inability to cope with the changes, and now that passengers have to pay even more, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has told the rail industry that patience has run out and, if rail users are not provided a satisfactory service, the franchises should have to make way.
He said: “We can never have another year on our railways like the one we’ve just had. The time for excuses is over. 2019 must be a year of rapid and measurable improvement on the railways in the North of England.”
Services are still reduced in the North of England because of strike action every Saturday – something that has occurred throughout the second half of 2018.
And it simply heightens the sense that passengers, businesses, and any other users of the railways must have a service that they can rely on.
Changes to the timetable in May should help but, the Mayor warned, if nothing has changed by that point, intervention is needed.
He added: “As new rolling stock is introduced throughout the forthcoming year, passengers should begin to see improvements.
“The May 2019 timetable change also presents an opportunity to bring day-to-day performance back up to an acceptable standard. But that must be the final deadline.
“If it is not met, then there must be direct intervention in the rail industry and, if necessary, franchises removed.”