Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP who has herself regularly experienced cancellations, delays and overcrowding on trains in the South West has demanded that Great Western Railway bosses face the public over services in the region. She is demanding that the company offers a series of public meetings so they can hear and address customers concerns. Molly, who travels extensively by train across the region, said:
“Like many people, I am sick of being shunted around the region in overcrowded, often filthy, trains that frequently run late or not at all. The South West has some of the most ancient rolling stock in the country and receives less rail investment than any other region in the UK bar one.
“None-the-less, the fact that Great Western Railway does receive public subsidy and provides such a shoddy service means that they should be accountable to the travelling public. It is high time that company bosses listened to the many woes their customers have through a series of public meetings.”
The call to meet the public head-to-head comes at a time when the government has announced controversial plans for a fully privatised railway line between Oxford and Cambridge, with track and trains operated by the same company. Transport minster, Chris Grayling, has also announced that future rail franchises will see integrated operating teams between Train Operating Companies, such as Great Western Railways, and Network Rail who maintain the track. Molly concluded:
“We also want to see better integration between train companies and track – it’s called public ownership. Greens have always believed that a publicly owned and publicly accountable railway system is the way to get our railways back on track.”