Constituents in South Shields have been increasingly frustrated by disrupted journeys caused by faulty trains, power failures and leaves on the line. Last October, more than one train in three did not arrive on time. Although the situation has improved slightly delays are still common, with around one in five trains arriving behind schedule. Emma has also received complaints about broken ticket machines and poor customer service.
Emma requested a meeting with Mr Johnstone to discuss passengers’ complaints, and to call for urgent action to improve the service. Mr Johnstone agreed that the delays passengers were experiencing were unacceptable, and said that a new management team had been brought in to get the service back on track.
He said that work was being done to fix the mechanical faults on the network’s trains, with all trains due to be restored by the end of this year.
In the meantime, he said that Nexus would be working to make sure passengers inconvenienced by poor service were able to get the cost of their journey refunded. Constituents whose train is delayed by more than 15 minutes may entitled to their money back. More information can be found at http://www.nexus.org.uk/metro/guide-metro/ticket-refunds.
Emma also raised passengers’ concerns about poor customer service. Constituents said that they received very little information when trains were delayed, and did not know what alternative routes to take. Mr Hughes said that Nexus would be improving station announcements over the coming months, and that staff would be issued with new guidance to improve the level of customer service. The changes are expected to take effect from April.
Speaking after the meeting, Emma said:
“People in Shields need public transport they can rely on, but the current state of the Metro is unacceptable. It seems like not a day goes by without some sort of delay, and the problems with ticket machines and barriers only add to people’s frustration.
“There is still a long way to go before the service is back to an acceptable level. Nexus needs to work flat out to bring things back up to standard, and in the meantime they should be doing everything they can to make sure customers are kept well-informed and are compensated when things go wrong.
“I was given strong assurances that services will improve in the coming months, and I will be watching closely to make sure that promise is delivered.”