Mark Francois is right (did I really write that?)- why should commuters have to put up with shoddy service and poor trains? 2019 is still over a year away and I expect the train company will put up the rail fares again as they usually do to ‘compensate’ themselves for the investment in the new trains. Hand out the discounts now as Mr Francois has asked on behalf of commuters.
A TORY MP has called on a rail company to give customers a discount ’because of persistently poor performance’.
Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, has written to the managing director of Abellio Greater Anglia, which runs the train line from London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria.
In a national survey last month it was revealed that Greater Anglia generated the highest level of customer complaints of any rail company in the country.
Mr Francois said the company should follow the lead of South Western, which gave commuters the equivalent of 10 free days of travel after a period of closure.
He said ’dissatisfied’ Greater Anglia season ticket holders should be given a discount as a ’gesture of goodwill’.
He wrote in a letter to company boss Jamie Burles: “As you know, I have been critical for some time of the way in which Abellio Greater Anglia are providing their services to my constituents, who this year have had to put up with numerous delays and cancellations on your Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street line.
“In addition, they have not been able to use the railway on numerous weekends because of engineering works carried out by Network Rail and also, for months, have not been able to travel home by train after 9.30pm from Liverpool Street because of further engineering works.
“On both occasions you have laid on buses but this has happened so frequently that it seems at times Abellio is becoming more of a bus company than a rail company.
“We now face further line closures and more buses from December 23 until the New Year.
“Given all this, I am writing to formally request that you should give my constituents a discount on their season tickets when, as most of them do, they renew them in January.”
Greater Anglia did not specifically comment on Mr Francois suggestion of a discount, but issued a statement saying the ongoing disruption was part of a plan to improve the line in the long run.
It said the line was ’undergoing a major transformation to make it fit for future generations’, including the replacement of 60-year-old overhead wires.
The statement said: “Unfortunately, this work cannot be completed without impacting on trains.”
The company said new trains were coming with wireless internet, air conditioning and USB plugs, due to hit the line in 2019.
The statement continued: “Currently our performance is just under 90 per cent, which is above the national average. We have direct control over one third of delays or cancellations, for which people are compensated through our Delay Repay system, which we have improved so customers can claim online for multiple journeys and receive payment in a number of different methods to suit them.”