Bedford rail users asked how they’ll spend £80k compensation

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Govia Thameslink Train

Govia Thameslink (GTR) have announced that Bedford Station will be given £80,000 extra funding as compensation for being one of the worst affected by the May 2018 timetable change.

The money will come form GTR’s £15million passenger benefit fund, which the transport secretary ordered GTR to set aside to provide tangible benefits for passengers in the wake of the May 2018 disruption.

Passengers are now being asked to decide how they think the cash should be spent, with the GTR Passenger Fund website offering a number of suggestions including:

  • Solar panels to power the station
  • A ‘living plant wall’, bee garden or other environmental options
  • Improved toilets
  • Additional ticket vending machines
  • Additional cycle parking facilities
  • Increasing cycle security measures at stations

There are also wider passenger benefit suggestions:

  • Adding delay notifications to the GTR apps
  • Provision of real-time, relevant station and journey information
  • Improving communications of alternative end to end journey options (like ‘Waze’ for road travel) during disruption
  • Improving the information provided during and post disruption in stations or through the
    app
  • Keeping station toilet facilities open 24/7, with Key Smartcard accesibility

Although many passengers may believe that these wider passenger benefits should be provided by GTR as standard.

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt confirmed the ‘compensation’ saying: “I met with Govia Thameslink senior management at the House of Commons [yesterday, 9 May] to discuss the recovery plans following last year’s chronic timetable failures.

“Reassurances about current services were welcome, but I and rail user groups in the constituency will remain very vigilant.”

Bedford station is one of four stations to receive the cash, with nearby Arlesey, Sandy, and Biggleswade also getting £80,000 each.

A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway said: “We recognise that industry-wide failures in delivering the May timetable last year created huge difficulties for our passengers.

“Trains are running well now and we have 400 more services every weekday across our network. This investment in in our stations will deliver real additional benefits to passengers.

“We are asking passengers to join our Passenger Panel to tell us what they would like to see the money spent on. For more information visit passengerbenefitfund.co.uk.”

Mt Burt added: “I remain grateful to passengers for keeping me informed and appreciate that together we have helped with a response to last year, made a strong case for continuing improved services, and have successfully secured some improvements to local stations as a result.”

For further information, visit passengerbenefitfund.co.uk.