Transport for Wales still not performing

Russell George AM/AC today (January 29) chaired a meeting of the National Assembly's Economy, Infrastructure, and Skills Committee, which focused on rail services.

The meeting follows results from a Rail Passenger Survey carried out by Transport Focus, which  found TfW's rail passengers were among the least satisfied in the UK.

The operator, which runs services throughout Wales and some cross-border services to England, was the fourth-lowest ranked operator out of the 24 in the UK.

Headline statistics from the survey included that the percentage of customers satisfied with their journey in autumn 2019 was 79 percent, down three percentage points compared to the same season in the previous year.

In late December, the Welsh Labour Government was forced to acknowledge that the older, ‘Pacer’ trains – which do not comply with disability access legislation – and Class 37 rolling stock, which can be up to 60 years old, would remain in service during the first part of 2020.

Satisfaction with value for money on TfW had fallen significantly among weekday customers to 48 percent, compared to 57 percent in 2018.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative spokesperson, Mr George said:

“Expectations of Wales' rail service are simple. As the passenger watchdog Transport Focus put it:

‘Passengers tell us that their top priorities for the new Wales and Borders railway are getting a seat on reliable services that provide good value for money.’

“Sadly, during 2019 we have just not seen significant progress.

“Over the last year, we continue to see cancelled trains, delayed trains, lack of staff, signalling problems, capacity problems, lack of quality information to passengers, and overcrowding, and this is unacceptable by anyone's standards.

“This is not the ‘transformational’ improvement to services that Wales was promised by this Welsh Government and neither does it represent the additional capacity or the vision of future rail services in Wales.”

In Spring 2019, the Economy, Infrastructure and skills committee published its report into the rail disruption which has affected passengers, highlighting a number of possible causes and potential remedies.

The Committee's clear message to Transport for Wales was that if a similar level of disruption is experienced by passengers in the future then they must be adequately compensated as it will be some time before the full fleet of shiny new trains arrives.

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