By Kerry McGinty
Train overcrowding is at an all time high and it is only going to get worse according to information revealed by the government that all targets for increasing passenger places on trains by 2014 will be missed. It has also been revealed that within 5 years train fares are to rise by a third.
Richard Bacon MP said: “People paying premium fares for rail services that are still overcrowded have every right to be furious, especially as trains look set to get more crowded.”
Train overcrowding and delays are affecting the whole of the UK. On the 8th November Birmingham new street station was in chaos, with the station electing in the end to remove the train times from any screens and replacing it with “Welcome to Birmingham New street” due to severe delays on all the train services.
As I waited for over an hour for the 12.22pm train to Edinburgh I spoke to some of the hundreds of other passengers on the platform who were also willing for our train to finally turn up.
Carol Smith, aged 51, who was trying to travel to Preston said: “It’s been and absolute nightmare, I’ve already been delayed on my connecting train and I didn’t have a seat. I just want to get home now!”
Simon King, another passenger waiting for the service: “I paid over £80 for my ticket and the train has been delayed by over an hour. You try and find out what’s happening and the staff just disappear! No one knows what’s going on, it’s chaos.”
After such a long wait the battle for seats began, with hundreds of frustrated, tired yet determined passengers preparing their elbows for the rush to the doors, not an activity you would expect after paying so much money for the privilege.
Margaret Hodge, Chairwoman of the The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said MPs were concerned that the “already unacceptable levels of overcrowding will simply get worse and ever more intolerable”.
The government is yet to reveal its plans to remedy the crisis. Until then the waiting game continues…