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TSSA brands the Department for Transport public consultation on Cross Country Rail network 'a sham'

29 August 2018

TSSA leader, Manuel Cortes has branded the Department for Transport (DfT) public consultation which seeks ideas on how to improve train services on the Cross Country rail network a sham.

The consultation which closes at midnight tomorrow (Thursday, August 30) is being conducted ahead of the nationwide service being put out to new tender next month. The current franchise will be run by Arriva Trains, a subsidiary of Germany's nationalised rail company Deutsche Bahn until December 2019.

But says Cortes, "The Secretary of State, Chris Grayling has only a history of contempt and disregard for passengers or taxpayers participation when it comes to the design of this essential public service. Passengers would like trains that run on time, with the seats that they have paid for guaranteed, toilets that work and enough staff on trains and stations to provide a customer service ethos worthy of the name.

"These public consultations ahead of new tendering processes have proved themselves to be more of a sham than any genuine attempt by government to recognise and meet passengers needs.

"All polls now show that rail passengers, wherever they are in the country, are fed up to their back teeth of unreliable and too often, cancelled services, prohibitively expensive fares with a Byzantine structure which sees arbitrary peak times aiding dangerous over-crowding. It's why going back to public ownership by taking rail franchises in-house has become the preferred public choice for our rail network.

"It's not hard to work out what passengers want. But not for this DfT which is so dominated by Grayling's blind faith in market ideology that it fails to look at the facts and then actually asks passengers to be "thought-provoking" in their response on how our railways could be run better whilst repeatedly ignoring the public clamour for public ownership. What a waste of ink!

"How much help does Grayling's DfT need before it is provoked to understanding that passengers want a long-term strategy for a decently staffed rail network in which trains run on time, with necessary capacity and at an affordable cost to passengers?"

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