The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, needs to take responsibility for the recent failings of the rail industry, during the implementation of the new timetable and take steps to make sure it does not happen again.
In a highly critical letter to the Secretary of State, the London Assembly Transport Committee questions why it has taken almost two months to announce a passenger compensation package. It calls on the Department for Transport (DfT) to establish a much quicker process for any future episodes of major, prolonged disruption.
The letter says it is vital that the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) inquiry considers the skills and capacity within the DfT, and whether it is capable of managing the rail industry effectively.
It is important that the inquiry is seen to be independent, as the Committee is concerned that the public will see it as little more than an industry whitewash.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee said;
"The chaos that unfolded after the introduction of the new rail timetable on May 20th is proof that not enough people in the rail industry were willing to speak up and admit that the changes were simply not going to work.
“How were so many warning signs ignored by so many people? The composition of the Industry Readiness Board needs to be seriously looked at – perhaps some external voices on the board including TfL would have been useful.
“We are pleased to see the timetable change planned for December has been halted – but passenger confidence in the rail industry has been shaken by this ridiculous episode and those at the top need to ask themselves some serious questions.
“Passengers expect and deserve better.”