Sir David Amess, Member of Parliament for Southend West, has condemned the changes made to the c2c timetable. Sir David raised the issue at Business Questions in the House of Commons on Thursday 27th November.
On Monday 23rd November, c2c introduced a new timetable on their services. This meant that there were fewer trains on the route, and those trains that were running had fewer carriages. In addition, the evening ‘peak time’ was brought forward by two hours, running from 4-6pm, rather than 6-8pm, Predictably, this saw serious overcrowding on the network, both on trains and on platforms.
Commenting on the changes, Sir David said “I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the situation, which came as a great surprise to me in terms of how the train operator is interpreting the safety and covid regulations. The situation for commuters is unacceptable, not only in terms of the cost that they are paying for their tickets but also in terms of the service given. The changes to the timetable are also unacceptable.”
Sir David also took the opportunity on Thursday to ask for a debate on the future of the c2c franchise. He asked:
“Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the future management of c2c rail services in my constituency? The service used to be known as the “misery line”. It then became the “happy line”, but unfortunately it now become the misery line again, because, inexplicably, timetable changes have been made, with trains cancelled, but the trains and platforms are overcrowded. That is totally unacceptable during this coronavirus pandemic.”
Answering, the Leader of the House, the Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg said:
“We always want happiness rather than misery, so I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this issue. I note the c2c has announced recently that it is introducing a more sustainable and resilient timetable, which should result in fewer short-notice cancellations. That sounds like one of those pieces of verbiage we sometimes get from bureaucracies, but we await this with interest and I am sure my hon. Friend will remind the House if it is not delivered upon. In the meantime, I will raise his point with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.”