The botched introduction of a new Thameslink timetable in May 2018 caused unprecedented disruption to us and we are anxious about the impact of the new Winter Timetable expected to take effect from 10 December 2018.
Ahead of this, we are asking you to make a public statement about the industry’s readiness and commit to learning lessons identified as priorities by us as passengers:
- Ensure that the “12-week lock down” procedure is followed so there is a full 12 weeks for preparations between the timetable being agreed and coming into effect (this procedure was not followed in May).
- Ensure that the Industry Readiness Board for Thameslink has properly scrutinised industry plans and publishes minutes of those meetings so there is a public record
- Announce in advance what performance metrics you are using for Thameslink and what penalties will apply if the industry fails to meet them
In anticipation of disruption occurring, please confirm that you will:
- Announce immediately that ALL ticket holders will be eligible for compensation
- Extend compensation to cover ‘hidden’ costs such as increased childcare, late school pick up fees, lost work contracts, taxi fares etc
- Ensure prominent public apologies are made on each occasion to assuage the impact of disruption on passengers’ professional reputation and the chances of dismissal or reprimand
- Ensure Thameslink provides reliable and consistent service information (across social media / train platforms / on-board / station staff) and penalise Thameslink if it fails to do so
- Ensure seamless ticket eligibility between rail and rail replacement bus companies so passengers are not left to argue about ticket eligibility or forced to buy a second ticket
We know there have been inquiries by both the Office of Rail and Road regulator and by the cross-party Transport Select Committee. But as passengers we are none the wiser about whether and what lessons have actually been learned. We have received no communications from Thameslink or Government about what they intend to do differently this time around.
We look forward to your statement.