Angry commuters between Lichfield and Birmingham have again contacted
Michael Fabricant over the withdrawal of discounts on Central Trains. In
particular, it seems Central Trains will no longer compensate passengers
when trains are late. "Following on from Central Trains’ unwillingness to
provide a service to Lichfield on strike days, this is yet another
unacceptable kick in the teeth to Lichfield commuters if indeed the
discounts have been withdrawn" says Michael Fabricant. "With the new
reduced timetables, train services should be more reliable. That was the
whole justification for the change. The withdrawal of compensation would
imply a lack of faith by Central in the reliability of its own trains. I
shall be contacting Central Trains again asking a clear explanation".
Dominic Prentis, a solicitor who lives in Lichfield but commutes daily to
work in Birmingham, has written to Michael Fabricant regarding this.
In his letter, he says:-
"I was particularly concerned to be told this week that Central Trains have
now withdrawn the monthly discount given to those with monthly or annual
passes. This was previously given by way of reduction on a renewal of pass
whenever Central failed to meet its own targets (currently 82% punctuality)
and meant that commuters with monthly or annual passes could not claim for
compensation whenever a train was over 20 minutes late.
"As the targets have in the last month failed by a long way, one might have
expected the 5% discount to be increased to 10%. Certainly, no-one would
have expected the discount to have been withdrawn under such circumstances,
and to withdraw it without prior notice, consultation or explanation does
appear rather short sighted. Even Central’s own staff seemed unsure as to
whether it actually had been withdrawn when I telephoned to enquire, with
one telling me it had not been withdrawn (Paul Cummins) and another telling
me it had been but he did not know why (Mitchell Collier)."
Dominic is now asking:
1. Has the discount been withdrawn?
2. If so, why?
3. Why there was no announcement or explanation of its withdrawal?
4. Whether commuters with monthly tickets can now claim for
compensation every time a train is late (as provided for by the Citizens’
Michael Fabricant says "It is quite extraordinary that commuters have
suffered to such a degree in Lichfield. Given that more people travel from
Lichfield each day than from Blake Street, Butlers Lane, Erdington and
Gravelly Hill together, this seems a rather odd conclusion, especially when
commuters from Lichfield and Shenstone pay more for their tickets than those
travelling from Blake Street and beyond. I hope that Central will be able
to give me and Lichfield commuters a clear explanation".