I have recently responded to Great Western’s request for feedback on what people would like to see on their local railway:
Mr Graeme Hampshire
Stagecoach Great Western Trains
41-45 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NZ
15 August 2012
Dear Mr Hampshire
Thank you for the invitation to set out what I think constituents want from the Great Western railway.
People want a reliable regular service at an affordable price. The speed of the individual fast train is not a big issue. The use of diesel rather than electricity as a fuel matters little to most users. Door to door journey times and waiting times are big issues. Quite often it is the delays in getting to the station, parking, and finding a train that matter much more than the time it takes the train to do its part of the journey. Getting a seat is also a big issue.
There are three ways of improving journey times and reliability in the direct control of the franchise holder. The first is to provide more trains, so that the passenger has less time to wait for a train. The second is to improve efficiency and reliability so fewer trains are delayed or cancelled. The third is to have fewer stopping trains on longer journeys.
My constituents live in an arc to the south of Reading. They have to drive into central Reading and park their cars to be able to use the Great Western service at all. Car parking at Reading is expensive, and not geared to anyone wishing to take a long distance train and return on another day. Improving the parking options and lowering the charges would encourage more of us to use trains more often. Working with the Council to improve road access to station car parks would also be helpful, as it can take up to an hour to drive in from my area at peak times, park and buy a train ticket. This adds a very large time penalty to the journey.
The main services to London Paddington from Reading need more capacity at peak times. Too often my constituents fail to get a seat, which is both uncomfortable and dangerous.
I look forward to you producing plans to provide a better service which is more easily accessible from the Wokingham constituency.
The Rt Hon John Redwood MP
Member of Parliament for Wokingham