Proposed to Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Transport and the Environment.
Better Rail Advisory Group
Request for a public declaration
We would kindly request a public statement of assurance by the Hon Secretary of State, as to the current safety, reliability and viability of the rail infrastructure. This is of major concern to the public and a statement would ease passenger anxiety and give a general confidence boost to rail users throughout the UK.
1.Time frame to be issued within 7 days, for the completion of track inspections and lifting of speed restrictions on all routes in the UK imposed after Hatfield. Almost 18 months since the Hatfield accident, there are still hundreds of speed restriction in force all over the country (100 speed restrictions on First Great Western routes alone), and this is despite previous assurances from the Government that this would be concluded some time ago!
2.Confirmation that a normal service (as per the pre-Hatfield timetable) will be resumed, once the above is completed on all routes on the national rail network.
3.That the issue of overcrowding and number of passengers standing will be reviewed, in particular on long distance journeys, with Government guidelines to be given after immediate consultation with passengers and TOCs.
4.Immediate guarantee of investment on improving communications both at all rail stations and through other media (e.g. Web).
5.A government led initiative to look after consumers, by insisting that a best standard practice, for compensation for rail travellers who receive delays in excess of 30 minutes during peak time and 60 minutes during off-peak times.
6.To agree to a review of the current pricing structure, which is amongst the highest in the world.
7.To regulate all tickets, thus safe guarding the price increases on off peak trains and their availability.
8.That buying a season ticket on an Intercity service guarantees a seat.
9.That all fines paid in the past, present and future levied on TOCs for poor performance, to be re-invested into the rail industry and not sent to the treasury. This represented some £178 million last year alone.
10.Monthly meetings to be held with the Minister of Transport, the Chairman of the SRA and genuine independent passenger representative groups, to monitor the proposed improvements, investment and performance of rail services. In addition a quarterly meeting to include the Secretary of State.
Without the involvement of the main independent passenger groups at strategic planning and decision making level, there will be no credibility or legitimacy to any long term ’10 year plan’. If the purpose is to deliver a quality service to the passengers, their involvement and agreement of this policy is paramount.
In recent national polls approximately 85% of the public support a day of protest against the Government. Why? Apart from stating the obvious, enough is enough.
Worse Rail Service in Europe
Employers losing man hours – the economy is suffering and more importantly the misery that is placed on their employees, is forcing many people to reconsider the way they live and where they work.
We respectfully request the Hon Secretary of State consider our proposal and meet with us in 7 days time to discuss and hopefully agree to our basic proposals.
It was with reluctance that we choose to boycott the rail network on March 1st, but we feel there is no alternative. We will do all we can to avoid this action, but if the assurances and proposals that we have asked for are not met then the day of action will go ahead.