Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 20, 2018

Merseyrail Preens Itself For Improvements While Steadfastly Discriminating Against West Lancashire Elderly And Disabled Residents

Duty to co-operate with neighbouring local authorities is lauded by our Labour led West Lancashire Borough Council, to facilitate housing needs. Where is the Labour duty for those neighbouring local authorities to stop the Maghull boundary effect of discrimination for free off-peak rail travel for West Lancashire’s elderly and disabled residents?

It’s seven years ago that the appalling discriminatory Tory decision to stop the miserable but useful £28 annual travel concession was made. It was fought against by Labour councillors. Where are they now? Running WLBC and behaving as though they had never heard of off peak rail travel concessions for elderly and disabled residents.

It’s simple enough to explain. The LCR authorities receive huge government grants to run LCR transport on buses, railways, and the ferries. LCR residents pay a small amount of council tax to subsidise Merseyrail, which also receives huge annual government provided grants, subsidies, from which it makes circa £14,000,000 annual profits that go to foreign shareholders. But, just like the gutless WLBC Tory party in its day, gutless WLBC Labour won’t stand up against boundary discrimination. It shames them all.

Merseyrail makes around 40p profit per passenger journey. Elderly and disabled residents have offered to pay that amount per off peak journey on production of their bus pass. A no cost deal,  that was refused by the Chairman of Merseytravel Liam Robinson  in a meeting with Rosie Cooper MP. Discrimination rules, OK?

Now, Rosie Cooper MP reports on the “Succesful Completion Of The Ormskirk Platform Upgrade And Track Remodelling” as the first phase of line closures on the Merseyrail network to prepare for the arrival of new ground-breaking trains were successfully completed on 10th November 2018. Upgrades to the platforms and remodelling of the track took place at Walton, Orrell Park, Aintree, Old Roan, Maghull, Town Green, Aughton Park and Ormskirk stations.

The Managing Director at Merseyrail Andy Heath is quoted “It’s fantastic news that the Ormskirk line is now ready for the new fleet of trains and we’re pleased that passengers now have their usual service restored when it was promised. A lot of work had gone into minimising disruption as much as possible while this work took place, and both high-quality rail replacement buses and our customer service staff were available to help keep everyone moving.

“This is the largest investment in the network since the 1970s and is vital to prepare it for the arrival of the new state-of-the-art trains in 2020 which includes pioneering sliding step technology which will result in unassisted access for all our passengers”.

MP Rosie Cooper said “My constituents will be very pleased that normal service will resume for those passengers using the Ormskirk line, following the completion of the platform upgrade work. This represents good progress in bringing new trains on to the network and the future extension of services to Skelmersdale which will be very welcome when they arrive”.

As announced by Merseytravel on Monday the successful completion of the Ormskirk work will now be followed by another 10 stages on both the Northern and Wirral lines, until their completion next June. The work will involve re-modelling a total of 100 platforms and realigning track at 58 stations. The new trains will be faster, safer, more comfortable than ever, and able to carry 50% more passengers. Getting you there safely is at the heart of what Merseyrail do. Your new trains will have extensive CCTV, the carriages will be open, light and bright and you can see right down the train. They will have wider aisles with better space for wheelchairs, bikes prams and luggage. These new trains will boost the regional economy by £70million every year, create around 1,000 new jobs, and make Merseyrail the most accessible rail network in the UK.

Isn’t it amazing, all this modernisation of tracks and trains, while the policy to discriminate is still from the political dark ages?

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