Residents are invited to give their views on the Thameslink service to a new Working Group set up by St Albans City and District Council.
The Working Group has been established to help develop the Council’s response to a government consultation about the Thameslink franchise. It will also make recommendations to Cabinet in formulating their response. This follows a decision by the Council’s Local Services Scrutiny Committee on 3 July.
The Working Group will consider what should be included in the specification for the new Thameslink Franchise which is due to start in September 2013.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is proposing to combine the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchises. It is currently consulting on the specification for the combined franchise which is due to begin in September 2013 and run for a minimum of seven years. The franchise will be responsible for delivering rail services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Greater London, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Surrey and Sussex.
Councillor Robert Donald, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee, said: “The Thameslink service is used by so many of our residents every day and is incredibly important to the continued economic health and growth of our District. It is a key element in the Network St Albans partnership which seeks to co-ordinate different modes of local public transport, especially buses.
“And yet, when there are problems with the Thameslink service, the results are travelling frustrations, immense inconvenience and real commuting misery. With the franchise coming up for renewal, now is the opportunity to try to get the service improved for commuters and visitors alike.
Cllr Donald added: “The committee agreed with Cabinet that a working group should develop the Council’s response to the consultation on this and help to inform their work as well. The group will look particularly at how the service can be improved in the future. It will also consider how the committee’s previous recommendations on passenger communications, compensation policy and car parking charges can be implemented further.
“When we met with First Capital Connect on 3 July last year, we made robust recommendations about the need for passengers to be adequately compensated for delays and for improved communication by the operator with customers. We also agreed that firm plans should be put in place to transport passengers to their destinations when the service is disrupted by unforeseen events. In addition, the operator should look at car parking charges at stations, and opportunities to transport more passengers to Harpenden station by bus from the villages.
“As part of this group’s work, residents and commuters are invited to put forward ideas in writing about what changes they think need to be made to the service.”
Letters can be sent to Catherine Comfort, Scrutiny Support Officer at St Albans City and District Council, Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street. St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3LD or firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline for correspondence is 24 July 2012.
The Working Group will meet during July 2012 and its work will contribute to the Council’s response to the consultation which ends on 23 August 2012.
All the issues discussed at meetings between the Overview and Scrutiny (Public Services) Committee, now known as the Local Services Scrutiny Committee, and First Capital Connect will be reported to the Working Group.
The Committee also suggested that there was a need to increase the number of tracks at Kentish Town from two to four.
of the meeting held on Tuesday 3 July can be viewed on Council’s website.
Cllr Robert Donald, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee for St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 841647
Contact for the media:
Media and Internal Communications Officer
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317
1. More information about the Department for Transport’s consultation on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise is available at: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-23/consultation-thameslink.pdf
2. * Network St Albans helps facilitate and promote better integrated and sustainable travel around St Albans and the surrounding areas. This includes travel by bus, train, walking or cycling.
This initiative is supported by local businesses, the University of Hertfordshire, St Albans City and District Council, Hertfordshire County Council and local bus and train operators.
More information is available at: http://networkstalbans.co.uk/
3. More information about the role of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee, formerly the Overview and Scrutiny (Public Services) Committee, is available on the Council’s website at: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/Overview-and-Scrutiny/