Standing Room Only

The Birmingham Post has reported Midland rail operator allowed to increase standing room on trains with news from a National Audit Office report that London Midland, operator of West Midlands rail services was given permission to pack more passengers onto already overcrowded trains when it took over the franchise from Central Trains last year.

The Department for Transport agreed to increase the number of passengers forced to stand on the franchise’s trains, which include services from Birmingham to Liverpool and Birmingham to London '...' rail passengers must expect above-inflation fare rises and increased overcrowding across the country.

The National Audit Office report which gathered the information from Centro Passenger Transport Executive, the West Midlands transport authority, showed that the Department of Transport substituted a national standard for the previous regional standard on acceptable loading of passengers on trains.

“Centro, the Passenger Transport Executive for the West Midlands, told us that in effect the definition of full standing capacity had been raised from 110 per cent of seating to 130 per cent.
“This means that 191 people standing on a 148 seat train would be the maximum for planning purposes, compared to 163 people under the previous standard.

Despite government spending of over £10 billion to tackle overcrowding and plans to ensure the rail network can cope with more than 20 per cent growth by 2014 the experience of many rail users is still unpleasant. What will be difficult to stomach is the rise in fares above inflation for the many passengers who have no alternative but to use packed trains and Centre is rightly worried that overcrowding might push potential train travellers to use their car instead.


Popular Posts