Thameslink passengers should expect better value for money, MP says
PUBLISHED: 12:40 14 February 2018
More crowded Thameslink services are unacceptable, says St Albans MP Anne Main.
Mrs Main was speaking ahead of timetable changes in May, when East Midlands Trains (EMT) will be reducing its number of London services from Bedford and Luton.
This could cram more passengers onto Thameslink services calling at Harpenden and St Albans.
Mrs Main said: “I am very concerned about the potential impact this change could have on St Albans commuters.
“St Albans passengers pay some of the highest rail fares in the country and they should expect a high level of service. To add even more pressure to this already crowded line would be unacceptable.”
She has written to transport minister Jo Johnson, who wrote back to say Thameslink will add services to accommodate for the loss of EMT services.
He wrote: “[These changes] will affect 2,000 passengers per day who use EMT services. Thameslink will amend two trains per hour and will make wider changes to their timetable.
“This will add 2,000 extra seats at Bedford and 3,000 at Luton at peak times, off-setting the extra demand from EMT passengers.”
Both Mr Johnson’s department and Thameslink hope the changes will not impact upon St Albans passenger services.
Mrs Main said in reply to the minister’s letter: “While I am pleased with the minister’s response, passenger services will speak for themselves when the changes come into place.
“I have also written to Thameslink to outline the importance of achieving high levels of services for St Albans commuters throughout these changes.
“Passengers need longer trains and more frequent services. It cannot be acceptable for high-paying passengers to endure even worse service from May onwards.
“I will be keeping a close eye on these changes and I will be requesting regular meetings with the rail minister to monitor any changes in passenger service.”
Thameslink and the government announced at the beginning of the year certain rail fares would increase by three per cent.
Mrs Main has previously raised the problems St Albans commuters have with Thameslink in Parliament, comparing the service to a cattle truck in a speech last Summer.