Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said he is “not prepared” to tolerate the operating company’s poor performance, announcing today that Northern Rail would be stripped of its franchise.
The transport secretary began taking steps to strip the operator of their franchise back in October, following an outpour of customer complaints due to frequent delays and cancellations in 2019. Shapps has described the service as “completely unacceptable”.
The news comes in as rail fares across Britain have increased by 2.7% today, with Shapps revealing things have been particularly bad with Northern Rail’s service since 2016 – with the summer of 2018 seeing up to 310 services per day cancelled due to a timetable change. The Office of Rail and Road has also revealed that only 56 per cent of the operators services were on time in the last quarter.
Speaking of the decision to remove the company of their franchise, Shapps said:
“It’s completely unacceptable to have a situation where trains almost routinely don’t run to a routine, don’t run on time. I simply will not put up with that and I’ve already kicked off that process and I’ll be saying more about it very soon.”
“I just don’t think it is acceptable. I’ve been a long-suffering commuter myself for many years and I don’t think it’s right that people can’t always rely on their train services, particularly in places like Northern where it’s been notably bad, I will absolutely bring that situation to an end.”
The transport secretary also went on to say that the move could see their routes be nationalised, or picked up by a short-term contractor to get the services back on track.
Twitter has been rife with customer frustration over the past year, with services across Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Hull regularly delayed or cancelled – leaving commuters increasingly frustrated. Here’s what social media have had to say following today’s news.