Harpenden and St Albans stations to receive £80,000 after May timetable chaos
PUBLISHED: 17:19 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 14 May 2019
Train stations across Hertfordshire will receive £80,000 in compensation after being deemed some of the "worst-affected" by the timetable debacle.
The introduction of the new Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) timetable last May created chaos for commuters who battled with daily cancellations, delays and overcrowding.
GTR is now asking passengers and stakeholders to suggest how a £15 million pot of money should be invested to help compensate people using the stations - including Harpenden, Radlett, and St Albans City.
Creator of the Facebook St Albans Commuter and Passenger Action Group and prospective Parliamentary candidate Daisy Cooper said this is "long overdue": "Nonetheless, this investment is welcome and I look forward to facilitating what I hope will be a genuine consultation by Thameslink with St Albans commuters and passengers."
She said this has come after lobbying from commuter groups around the country.
Emily Ketchin spoke on behalf of the Harpenden Thameslink Commuters' Group: "Whilst any effort to make improvements has to be welcome, this £80,000 in no way makes up for the fact that Thameslink slashed key Harpenden services by one third in the May 2018 timetable.
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"Not only have they failed for the last 12 months even to run all the trains they promised, they still have no plans to deliver even that 'full' service.
"Harpenden commuters need a return to the fast, frequent service which we had until last May."
She said "Thameslink's gimmicks" do not make up for the extra time Harpenden commuters wait on platforms while the Bedford Express misses the town's station.
Adding: "Put simply, the £80,000 will not bring back the service that we were promised and are paying for. That is where the focus needs to be."
Govia's deputy chief operating officer, Alex Foulds said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work closely with our customers and make meaningful improvements that will benefit passengers across our network.
"Over the next three months we'll be asking passenger groups to tell us the improvements they think we should make through a new website and survey.
"We are also asking passengers to join our Passenger Panel to tell us how we can invest the money."