Halfon has urgent meeting with Greater Anglia
Politics / Mon 24th Mar 2014 pm31 02:34pm
HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon has held urgent talks with Great Anglia over a number of customer and operational issues.
Mr Halfon said: “I recently held an urgent meeting with Greater Anglia’s Director of Corporate Affairs to discuss some of the problems that Harlow’s commuters have recently been experiencing on the West Anglia Line and the disappointing news that a survey by Which? scored Greater Anglia as the joint worst train service in the country.
“During the meeting, I raised a number of points including punctuality, facilities at Harlow stations, ticket prices, and improving train carriages.
“On punctuality, I was told that punctuality has been less consistent over the winter period due to poor weather, yet performance is still above the national average. Greater Anglia is now working closely with Network Rail to improve punctuality, and this is already having a positive affect. I also pushed to ensure that all drivers consistently give out information to passengers as soon as they are aware that there is a problem.
“Since taking over the franchise, Greater Anglia have made some welcome improvements to stations, including painting every station, upgrading lighting, fencing and resurfacing the platforms. However, this does not go far enough, and I asked for a variety of improvements to be made including better shelter at Roydon Station and information screens on platforms, and was told that Greater Anglia would look into this. Greater Anglia will also look at improving security at Harlow Mill so that the waiting room can be open for longer, and cycle parking at Harlow Town station.
“There are two types of train that serve Harlow on the Greater Anglia line. The new Class 379s which are modern and very comfortable, and the Class 317s which are older and in need of refurbishment. Due to the franchise coming up for tender, it is not currently possible for these trains to be refurbished, but Greater Anglia would like to see them refurbished in the future, and I will work with Greater Anglia to achieve this.
Finally, I spoke to Greater Anglia about pricing, an issue which is extremely important for Harlow commuters. This is not a new issue – The previous Labour Government relaxed rules on rail fares allowing rail companies to dramatically increase fares on popular routes, for example, on some routes in 2009 rail fares went up by 11.5% in just one year, and in Harlow, fares rose by around 40% over 13 years.
I was told that train companies roughly make 3p profit for every £1 spent by customers, and that they have tried to make tickets more affordable by concentrating on keeping the price of off-peak tickets low, introducing Groupsave fares, and a value scheme for job seekers.
The Government has also made some changes to keep fares as low as possible – for the first time in a decade, regulated fares will not rise on average by more than the rate of inflation, offering relief for families and the hardworking people.
This is a positive step forward and will help hard-pressed families, but it is vital that we ensure that Harlow residents who use the trains get good value for money, and the best possible service. I will continue to work with Greater Anglia to get a better deal for Harlow residents, and have agreed to meet the rail Minister, Stephen Hammond MP to discuss improvements that need to be made.
Why does Halfon care, he does not have to pay..