THE DEPUTY Mayor of Greater Manchester has responded to analysis showing 100,000 “lost” seats on Greater Manchester’s trains on the eve of another weekend of Northern rail disruption.
On Friday evening (17 August) rail operator Northern announced a fourth successive Sunday of planned mass cancellations. The scrapped services affect two key Greater Manchester routes with a significant number of carriages containing around 20,000 seats removed from the network.
It takes the total number of seats not available to paying passengers across the city-region’s rail network to around 100,000 over the last four Sundays, affecting the public’s ability to travel across the North West to attend sporting events, family occasions, paid employment or to go on holiday.
The affected routes include the lines from Liverpool to Manchester Airport and Southport to Wigan to Manchester to Blackburn.
Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor said: “It is completely unacceptable that once again Northern have decided to cancel scores of Sunday services in the Greater Manchester region, bringing further misery to thousands of customers.
“Despite repeated calls on Northern to answer for their sub-standard service they continue to take the travelling public for a fool. Whilst I have received a reply to my letter, it is far from a satisfactory response and goes no way to address the questions I put to them. Their continued failure to appropriately respond and address the concerns raised only further convinces me that that they have no plan in place to deal with this issue.
“As a result of these cancellations around 20,000 seats will not be available to Greater Manchester rail customers this Sunday. This will hit businesses, the airport, and most importantly families who will have to make last minute changes to their travel plans.
“It is time Northern are held to account for the misery they have continued to cause people in Greater Manchester. The Mayor and I will be considering all available options to ensure passengers in the North get the rail service they deserve.”
The 20,000 seats is an estimate based on the normal expected capacity of services over the two Greater Manchester routes that are likely to be affected by cancellations.