|And the week ends with two more cancellations!
Two cancellations may not sound like very much to you - but it's a lot to us here who rely on the TransWilts line when we've only got two trains each way each day in the first place! Yesterday, both the 19:08 to Westbury and the 19:50 to Swindon were cancelled, leaving just the 06:44 and 07:17 services operating.
Yes - I live in Melksham, a town of 24,000 people with a train service schedule of just four a day - that's one train per 6000 population. And First aren't even able to make that limited service run reliably! So - what service level SHOULD a town of this size have? Here are some local comparisons:
Trowbridge. Population 30,000, circa 60 trains a day. One train per 500
Bradford-on-Avon. Population 15,000, circa 30 trains a day. Also one train per 500.
Westbury. Population 12,000, circa 80 trains per day. One train per 150 inhabitants.
Warminster. Population 16,000, circa 40 trains a day. One train per 400 inhabitants.
One hundred and fifty ... four hundred .. five hundred ... five hundred .. six Thousand. I'm not going to go so far as to suggest that Melksham should be increased to the same service level as any of the others - just that it should be at a level that can be measured in hundreds too. How about one train per twelve hundred head of population. I make that 10 trains (to Swindon) and 10 trains to (shall we say) Salisbury.
Service at Bradford-on-avon nearly doubles in December - so they will be at one train per 250 head of population. Good for them!.
The County Councillor for Westbury, with the very best ratio in the area, is also the cabinet member for transport. I know that her Westbury is a special case, but I would encourage her to provide a somewhat more level playingfield - otherwise it looks as if she's heavily biased.
The weekday service at Melksham does NOT improve in December, and so the ratio of six thousand will remain. With growth in the area, the ratio will actually be getting worse ....
The ratio yesterday wasn't six thousand - it was TWELVE THOUSAND. That's why we get a little upset at even a single cancellation. We get rather tired of being spat upon.
Written 2007-10-21 13:47:48
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