Last week, mass delays and cancellations affected thousands of Northern’s passengers, including many small businesses and their staff.
Responding to this, FSB has called on the train operating company (TOC) to resolve the issues that have plagued the network’s users ever since the introduction of new timetables in May.
FSB also stressed the need for a compensation scheme to be set up in order to help customers who have had their lives adversely affected by the recent problems. The chaos shows how crucial the rail network is to business infrastructure across the north; beyond the current crisis, more investment is needed to ensure the network is fit for purpose and capable of supporting business connectivity more comprehensively.
Previously, FSB was successful in their recommendation that Transport for the North be made a statutory body, but more needs to be done. As outlined in their report “An Entrepreneurial North: Helping small business and entrepreneurship to thrive in the north of England” The Northern Powerhouse will only succeed if it rests on well-run transport infrastructure that provides reliable connectivity across the North and to the rest of the UK.
Richard Askew, Yorkshire and North East Policy Representative, said: “Commuters shouldn’t have to cope with the sort of chaos that has ensued in recent weeks which is why Northern Rail must make sure that passengers are adequately compensated.
“The compensation scheme should be implemented as a priority to prevent losses for individuals and to businesses. The last few weeks have impacted greatly on the Regions Small businesses’ and they need to see reassurance that lessons are learned and meltdowns like this do not happen again.
“The success of the Northern Powerhouse is vital to the region, if the Government are serious about it then rail services must be fit for purpose”.