After being contacted by a constituent complaining of the poor service provided by Cross Country Trains from March to Cambridge I am calling on the train company to explain why its Cambridge service has such a poor track record for being on time.
The woman, who did not want to be named, kept a daily log of delays because she was so fed-up with the 7:31am train being late on an almost daily basis. Her findings were a terrible indictment of tardiness and poor communication.
In a letter sent to the train provider and copied to me she points out that in the six weeks from Monday January 12 the train was late 21 out of 30 mornings, notching up 175 minutes of late running.
She explained: “I started a new job in Cambridge in November, and because I live in March and we are lucky enough to have a station, I decided to commute by train rather than drive. The train is more expensive but it is environmentally friendly and should be less stressful.
“But I have been appalled by the level of service. It has been so stressful. By catching the 7.31am train I should arrive in Cambridge with plenty of time to get to work for my start time of 8.30am. But in fact it has rarely been the case, and I have been continually late.
“There is very little communication to explain why the train is consistently late and I get the impression the train company really doesn’t care about its customers.
“It costs me £249.60 for a monthly season ticket, for a service that is not only late, but on trains that are packed like sardines. There are only two carriages provided on this service and so many of us find ourselves having to stand shoulder to shoulder all the way to Cambridge.
“The return journey is just as uncomfortable and I want to know why Cross Country Trains cannot provide at least one extra carriage on a service it knows is well used. We are constantly being told to use public transport to help cut CO emissions, but I can see why many people prefer to take the car.”
This is an appalling record of lateness. I accept that there are times when things happen that are out of the train operator’s hands, such as signal failure. But there really is no excuse for the service to be late this regularly. I am writing to Cross Country Trains to ask for an explanation. I will also be urging them to provide extra carriages for peak times.
We want people to use public transport as trains are a fantastic way to travel but they need to run on time and have enough seats for customers to use.