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Mayor Dave Joins Forces with Other Council Leaders to Demand Better Thameslink Rail Services

July 26, 2016 6:28 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behindMayor Dave Hodgson is joining forces with other Council leaders to demand a better service for beleaguered rail users on the Govia Thameslink and Great Northern routes. The group of Councils north of London, representing well over a million people, are calling on the Government to ensure Govia raises standards on behalf of passengers across the routes.

Govia also operates the failing Southern Rail franchise. While a great deal of national attention has focused on that problem in recent weeks, the Council leaders have highlighted the fact that rail users on the Thameslink and Great Northern routes have also sufffered unacceptable overcrowding, delays and repeated last minute cancellations since Govia took on the franchise two years ago.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "People travelling from Bedford pay a lot of money for their journeys to London, and they have a right to expect a decent service. Sadly they are just not getting that, and instead are having to endure appalling overcrowding and last minute cancellations.'

"Govia Thameslink receives a lot of money from the Government to run these services, and it needs to be held to its promises of a good standard of service. That means better reliability, more capacity and readily available compensation when delays and cancellations occur. Quite simply, Bedford's rail users need a service they can rely on, and if Govia won't make it happen the Government needs to ensure it does so."

The wording of a joint letter issued by Mayor Dave for Bedford Borough Council and representatives of Hertfordshire County Council, East Hertfordshire District Council, Luton Borough Council, North Hertfordshire District Council and Welwyn and Hatfield District Council is as follows:

Whilst the national spotlight has recently shone on the poor performance of Govia's rail service Southern, we would like to highlight the appalling quality of service for our residents using Govia Thameslink and Great Northern services to the north of London.

Since the franchises were awarded two years ago Govia has repeatedly cancelled services leading to much inconvenience without compensation for the hard-pressed traveller. Almost every day, there are last minute cancellations to the service making it impossible to plan journeys with any certainty.

This begs the question; as the Department for Transport is carrying all the risk on this franchise how much is this poor performance costing the public purse? With the West Midland and west coast ML franchises about to be renewed how can we have the confidence that more travellers will not suffer the same misery?

New rail minister Paul Maynard MP is now in place; this must be an opportunity for him to get a grip and ensure that Govia provides the services that it promised including a timetable that people can rely upon.