Rail compensation – figures massaged” by HS1 (January 19th 2011)
The figures used to determine whether or not rail travellers should receive compensation for poor timekeeping on South Eastern services have been massaged” by the inclusion of High Speed One, suggests North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale.
Intervening during a brief debate on West Kent Trains instigated by Sir John Stanley, (Tonbridge and Malling) North Thanet`s MP said:
Is it not the case that the figures have been effectively massaged by the inclusion of High Speed One? And is there not an irony in the fact that if we are eventually successful in achieving a compensation payment for our commuters that payment will also benefit HS1 travellers”.
Speaking after the exchange Roger Gale said:
The figures used by South Eastern, which by a whisker have scraped above the compensation level – figures which are now being challenged – appear to have included the performance of the HS1 premium service which, although not infallible, is more modern and more reliable in bad weather than the classic” services. HS1 is, of course, of little or no value to commuters from most of East Kent who either cannot use the service or do not wish to travel to St. Pancras.
I am sure that if the HS1 performance figures were removed from the equation we would begin to see the real, ghastly, figures that describe the service used by those commuting to and from work in London.
I was also not a little surprised to hear the Minister of State assert, as she did, that the RPI plus 3% average formula that has delivered a 12.8% real increase in East Kent was applied to pay for new rolling stock” and not High Speed One. That is certainly not the impression that has hitherto been given and will, I think, raise a few eyebrows in Kent`s commuting population. How, for instance, did Brighton escape with a 3.1% fare increase? No new rolling stock?
The fact of the matter is that Kent commuters are not only paying more for less – they now feel that they have been short-changed and not surprisingly they do not like it.”