The rail industry has called for a new system that ditches franchising in favour of multiple operators on long-distance routes and devolved commuter networks in major cities.
The Rail Delivery Group, which speaks for train operating companies, Network Rail and HS2, said its plans would provide a “step-change in accountability and customer focus”. Proposals include a new fares system and transferring direct control away from government to a new independent body.
The proposals come in the RDG’s submission to the Williams review, which was commissioned by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, after the collapse of the East Coast franchise and is expected to make recommendations for reform in the autumn.
Source: Ditch franchise system as part of rail reforms, says industry body | Business | The Guardian
A new user-led campaign is calling on the government to address the “disgraceful” and “unacceptable” treatment experienced by disabled rail passengers. Transport for All (TfA) has issued a series of seven demands to the government and rail industry as part of its Rail Access Now campaign, and has described the current situation as a source of “national shame”. Next month, on 5 April, TfA is planning a protest about access to services on the much-criticised Southern Rail network. The campaign has been backed by Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike and commuter Dave McQuirk, who both spoke this week of the “shocking” treatment they have received when using the rail system as wheelchair-users. Among TfA’s demands is for the government to reverse the “shameful” decision to defer until at least 2019 nearly half of the planned spending on its Access for All programme, which provides funding to improve access at rail stations. The funding delays were first revealed by Disability News Service last
Source: Campaign hopes to force improvements to ‘disgraceful’ access to rail travel | DisabledGo News and Blog
Staffing cuts across the rail industry – forced on train companies by the government – are damaging the rights of disabled passengers to catch trains without having to book assistance in advance, according to campaigners. The user-led accessible transport charity Transport for All (TfA) said the Department for Transport (DfT) was embedding such cuts in rail franchise agreements with train companies, making it even harder for disabled and older people who need assistance to board and disembark trains to travel “spontaneously”. Two representatives of the rail industry appeared to agree that the government was to blame and had forced the staffing cuts on train-operating companies – affecting station and on-board staff – although one of them later appeared to backtrack on that claim. Faryal Velmi, TfA’s director, told Tuesday’s Pan London Mobility Forum: “‘Turn up and go’ is not rocket science. “We are living in one of the richest cities, in one of the richest countries in the world.” She
Source: Industry and government fight over blame for damage to ‘turn up and go’ rail rights | DisabledGo News and Blog