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  1. Published on: 06/02/2019 12:39 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Rail union RMT's called for the 'basket case' Arriva Rail outfit to be stripped of the Northern franchise with the routes returned to public ownership as the latest passenger satisfaction statistics issued show that the operator has hit the relegation zone in the latest league tables.

    It's said that only Govia Thamelink’s 'notoriously hopeless' Great Northern arm has kept them out of bottom place.

    The Transport Focus survey shows that passenger satisfaction with rail services overall has fallen to a 10-year low, overall satisfaction with rail services was 79 per cent, the lowest level since 2008 with more than one in five passengers not satisfied.

    Passenger satisfaction levels will not have been helped either with the long-running dispute between unions and Northern over the role of guards on trains. The disagreement has led to strikes.RMT says that the figures, which also show that satisfaction on Scotrail has dropped to a 16 year low, reinforce the national campaign for the entire network to be taken under direct control with the “spivs and speculators, who have reduced services in the nation that gave the railways to the world to a global laughing stock, swept away for good”.

    RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “These figures are a disgrace and show that privatised rail services on failing Chris Graylings watch have sunk into terminal decline.

    “This greedy bunch of private operators are mugging off the British people and laughing all the way to the bank while passengers are paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on overcrowded and unreliable services. The whole lot should be swept away and it is no wonder that over 70% of the public now support RMT’s campaign for public ownership.

    “The usual suspects are propping up these league tables and it is no wonder that German-owned Arriva are looking to offload the toxic Northern franchise in a fire sale to the highest bidder. The Arriva Rail North services are rotten at the best of times and no one should forget that it’s the companies cash-led assault on passenger safety that has forced RMT members to engage in a campaign of action in defence of a safe, accessible and secure railway for all.“There’s an easy solution, end this privatised racket and run our rail services as a public service in the public interest and that goes for Scotrail as much as it does for anywhere else.”

    David Brown, MD for Northern responded: “The results are disappointing but not surprising when we look at the challenges the rail industry, and in particular Northern, has faced in 2018.

    “Delayed and overrunning engineering work across the North West, challenging autumn conditions, continued fallout caused by the May 2018 timetable and the ongoing RMT dispute were significant factors. These affected our ability to deliver the level of service customers expect and deserve and we are very sorry.

    “Throughout the autumn and into the new timetable, which we successfully introduced in December, we have worked hard to deliver significant improvements. We are now seeing clear signs of a stabilised and more reliable service. This is supported by an upturn in results in our monthly customer satisfaction surveys since November but we acknowledge there is more work to be done.

    “Our work to improve the railway in the north of England will continue throughout 2019 when we will introduce the first of our brand new trains. We will also start to remove Pacers from the network and continue to improve our stations and the facilities for our customers.

    “We are doing everything we can to find a resolution to the RMT dispute. A Conductor will remain on Northern trains and we urge the RMT to get back round the table to agree what this role will look like.”
     

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