Rail bosses are now being called upon to ‘own up, front up and speak up’.
Lancashire Labour calls for Northern to let the media in and close the accountability gap in the private rail crisis. As there is a total lack of transparency and accountability to passengers across the rail network in the North.
Labour Councillors in Lancashire are calling for Transport for the North (TfN) to take over the operation of rail services if Northern continues to dismiss public and media demands for answers, as the train operator’s failures rumble on.
Alarmed that train bosses have ignored repeated requests to answer passengers’ fury on regional news bulletins, Cllr Erica Lewis has called for a plan to get the trains back on track:
- Powers should be given to Transport for the North to cancel the franchise agreement and take the service into public ownership.
- A fully integrated transport service, including buses, be established in Lancashire in partnership with Transport for the North.
- Lancashire County Council should demand that Northern appear before an emergency meeting of the “External Scrutiny Committee.”
- Open public access to information supported by local media.
Cllr Erica Lewis said “What disturbs me about this crisis is that paying passengers can’t get anyone to own up, front up and speak up. The government blames the train company, the train company hides. This is what happens when public services are privatised. Who is actually going to explain to the tax paying, ticket buying, standing and waiting, endlessly inconvenienced travelling public what is happening?”
“The current Conservative administration which has a seat on TfN, yet they appear to have no impact when it comes to representing local people. They need to close the accountability gap in this crisis. Making Northern establish passengers and not their shareholders as their primary concern. In other words inject a spirit of public service, which has been entirely absent in this case. Open the doors of Northern’s control room to the media – give daily access until progress has been proved – and show you mean business about serving the public.”