MERSEYRAIL has vowed to improve after leaving thousands of commuters stranded on freezing platforms on the Wirral line.
The train company has cancelled or skipped out platforms along the Liverpool-Chester route for more than 12 months. Now an independent passenger watchdog has stepped in and is holding urgent talks to resolve the ongoing problems.
Figures obtained this week show more than 250 trains were cancelled or missed stations in an eight-week period between November and early January.
In that time, punctuality and reliability slumped to 81% – almost 12% below the average for the network.
Passenger Focus’s passenger manager David Sidebottom expressed concerns with rail bosses last night.
He said: “Passenger Focus is disappointed to hear reports passengers are experiencing ongoing issues on the Merseyrail service between Liverpool and Chester over recent months.
“Whilst we are not aware of there being any work that would cause significant disruptions to the service, we met Merseyrail management and will discuss the issue as a matter of urgency.
“It is vital passengers are informed about the compensation they are owed in these circumstances.”
Bart Schmeink, Merseyrail managing director, travels from Bache, Chester, to Liverpool everyday and is aware the company “should do better” and is actively seeking ways of doing that.
He said: “As it is the longest route on the network, there is currently little time for recovery if any delays occur.”
The company points out although the performance compared to the rest of the network is below par, it stands up to comparison against national indicators. Punctuality and performance across the country stands at about 88%.
A train spokesman said radical change may also be in the pipeline. One such proposal could see trains travel in one direction only during peak times allowing Merseyrail to offer a 15 minute service at the busiest times.