Take a stand on shoddy service
Cumbria News & Star: 16/01/2007
I read an article in the papers last week about a group of rail travellers in the south west who have finally had enough of this country’s shoddy services and are planning a fares strike over their local operator’s decision to withdraw carriages.
Good for them I say, and if I was there and unfortunate enough to have to use the train to commute to work every day, I’d join them.
What kind of cock-eyed reasoning is going on in the public transport sector and who – if anybody – is doing the thinking in the government bodies responsible for it?
On the one hand we are being urged to cut car use and use public transport as much as we can – and those of us conscientiously doing so are penalised with ridiculously high fares (it costs far more for me to get to work by bus than it does to run a small car, and I can’t be the only one), inconvenient timetables and unreliable and inefficient services.
The company targeted by the fares strike is withdrawing carriages from services that are already massively overcrowded – where on earth is the sense in that? We’re often told that services and products are withdrawn because of a lack of demand; that is clearly not the case here.
Even more galling is the information that the train operator is making these cuts as part of its contract with the Department of Transport. So, hang on a minute, the government stipulated that, in order to win the franchise, the rail company had to reduce the number of carriages it runs, despite there being a record demand?
It makes you want to scream with frustration at the stupidity of it. But in fact, the worst thing about all this is that we’re all so jaded, so used to hearing this kind of nonsense that we just throw up our hands and say “Oh to hell with it, I’ll take the car”.
Good for the protest group More Trains Less Strain who are taking a stance. It’s about time somebody did.