UK rail companies face investigation over botched timetable communication

The rail regulator has opened investigations into whether the two train companies worst hit by May’s timetable debacle communicated sufficiently well with customers.

The Office of Rail and Road has written to Govia Thameslink, which runs trains through London, and Northern, saying it has “concerns in relation to the provision of appropriate, accurate and timely information” given to customers before and after the May 20 timetable change.

The ORR can issue the franchises with an improvement plan or fine them up to 10 per cent of their turnover if they find severe wrongdoing.

The investigation follows ORR chairman Stephen Glaister’s report last month into the timetable overhaul, which found neither Northern nor GTR was “properly aware of or prepared for the problems in delivering the timetable and that they did not do enough to provide accurate information to passengers once disruption occurred”.

Under condition four of the train operating companies’ licence, the operators must supply information “to enable railway passengers and prospective passengers to plan and make their journeys with a reasonable degree of assurance, including when there is disruption.”

The ORR wants to complete the investigation by the end of November this year.


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