June blog

Tony Potts writes:

Northern have announced that the penalty fare system will apply to this line with effect from 30 June. The current TVM will have the appropriate software installed from that date so that passengers who do not have a credit or debit card can obtain a Promise to Pay ticket so that they can buy a travel ticket on the train or at a booking office.
Arriva Rail North (ARN) say that they will be reasonable in that they would not expect an elderly person or someone with a pushchair, for instance, to cross a footbridge to use a TVM.
I am not happy with this system, as it would be possible for passengers to miss their train and have to wait over an hour for another whilst trying to use the machine. In addition, some machines have issued the wrong ticket or printed the wrong validity. ARN say that posters will be displayed at stations and announcements will be given on the trains. I fear that this will be a deterrent to rail travel.
Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) have surveyed over 5,000 businesses on the subject of HS3, a high-speed rail link between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle, with extensions to Hull and Sheffield. Their idea is to link it with HS2. This is expected to cost up to £39bn. I feel that this money would be better invested in lines such as ours.
I was contacted on 29 May by Jacob Colley of the News and Star on the subject of call by the Mayors of Liverpool and Manchester for ARN to lose the Northern franchise. This was based on a Which? report on the poor performance over the previous twelve months. My reply hasn’t been published so far.
An article by Phil Wild in May’s in-cumbria says that due to disruptions passenger journeys on the Furness line dropped by 36,000 in the year to April 2018. It is thus not fit for purpose. The solution seems to be to spend tens of millions of pounds on the A590 between Kendal and Barrow. We have heard so much recently about carbon emissions, air pollution and climate change, which are due mostly to road vehicle use, yet so many people are wishing to generate more traffic.
I am due to attend the TravelWatch Northwest meeting at Preston on 13 June and will report back in July

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