Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Passengers criticise train firm

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Passenger Focus wanted the travelling public to have a say

A train operator has been criticised by passengers groups and commuters who accuse it of failing to consult sufficiently over timetable changes.

East Midlands Trains is speeding up many journey times from mid-December, but will cut stops for some services.

The company said it was impossible to consult thousands of people.

But Passenger Focus, the independent body set up by the government to protect rail users' interests, insisted more needed to be done in the future.

'Extensive consultation'

Paul Fulwood, of Passenger Focus East Midlands, said the company may have followed the letter of the law as specified by the Department of Transport "but the end result is that there are dissatisfied passengers".

"East Midlands Trains needs to sharpen up its act for the next round of consultations, needs to find out what passengers want and to make sure they deliver that to passengers as far as they're able," he said.

London commuter Steve Taylor said he had seen no consultation over two early evening trains that would no longer call at Market Harborough, apart from posters on the platform describing the timetable changes.

Commuters fighting changes to their service from Lowdham to Nottingham also said they had been given no prior warning.

In a statement, East Midlands Trains said: "We did extensive consultation with local authorities and passenger representatives, such as Passenger Focus and TravelWatch East Midlands, in October 2007.

"As it is clearly not possible to consult directly with the tens of thousands of passengers who travel with us each day, we consult with stakeholder groups who should represent the passengers interests."



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