Author Archives: Jenny Randerson

Jenny Randerson writes…Now is the time to reform our fares system for the future

t is no secret that our rail fares system is broken. With customers having to choose between over 55 million fare combinations, it is understandable that they would have no confidence in getting the best value fare for their journey. 

That’s why I welcomed the largest ever public consultation on fares reform which took place last summer, and saw responses from almost 20,000 passengers, business groups, local authorities and accessibility groups from across the country. 

The public has spoken – over 80% of respondents want to see fundamental reform within our fares system and they now cannot be ignored. 

The rail industry has been at the heart of this initiative for reform alongside Transport Focus, and I am encouraged by their proposals which set out a two-stage process to deliver meaningful reform. 

The first stage would see the outdated Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA) replaced by a new set of regulations underpinning the fares system. Then, the necessary commercial changes could be rolled out as part of refreshed government contracts with train operating companies. But, of course, these stages rely on the Government. 

That’s why I am today calling on them to act on the industry’s proposals and implement these recommendations. 

But this cannot be the only change. As Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, I am in regular contact with commuters, accessibility groups and businesses – they tell me that they want value for money, fair pricing, simplicity, flexibility and assurances that they are getting the best value fare for their journey.

With a reformed system, this could all be within reach and I am encouraged to see that the industry’s proposals seek to address these understandable concerns of passengers. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 15 Comments

The railway ticketing and fares consultation is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change fares for customers. The Government must act on its recommendations.

The rail industry has launched a consultation it claims will deliver ‘root and branch’ reform of fare regulations that date back to the mid-1990s. For customers, this represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change ticketing and fares that we must seize.

A say for passengers in the tickets they buy to get them to school, to work, to an apprenticeship, to university, or to see family and friends, is long overdue. The fares system we endure today was established by John Major’s Government in 1995, and years of franchising agreements have added layers of complexity to the system. The result: passengers …

Posted in News | Tagged | 28 Comments

Southern Rail: The rights of passengers are more important…

For most people the new year brings the promise of a fresh start, a clean slate but customers of Southern will not enjoy the same optimism at the prospect of what 2017 will bring.

A month of strikes on the network began today, with the simply astonishing advice of not to travel. This shows how little the people sitting in the board room at GTR understand the needs of the thousands of people desperately relying on the understanding of their employers for their lateness or inability to make it into work. Some are even missing hospital appointments through no fault of their own, ones they have most likely waited months for.

Posted in Op-eds | 51 Comments

Baroness Jenny Randerson writes: Heathrow expansion is bad economics, bad for the environment and bad for residents.

Pidgeon and Randerson no to Heathrow expansionYesterday’s announcement has confirmed what we have long suspected. That Theresa May would bow down to external pressures from big business and the foreign owners of Heathrow Airport to give expansion the green light – disregarding her own constituents and MPs in the process.

This is a green light that will see 800 homes and parts of the M25 demolished to make way for a development that even in its current form exceeds EU laws on emissions and is the cause of 28% …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Baroness Jenny Randerson writes…Consumer rights should cover train franchises

The recent poor performance of the Southern rail franchise, operated by Govia Thameslink Railway, have cast concern at the Government’s decision to exclude rail from the 2015 Consumer Rights Act. An Act which allows customers to be adequately compensated for any excessive disruption. In addition, passengers being forced to travel in cramped conditions when ironically, there are tight regulations preventing the overcrowding of animals when they are transported by train, but no similar rules relate to people.

Recent news headlines have been filled with these chaotic tales and the genuine distress of travellers, but what is more worrying is that this relentless and overwhelmingly negative impact appears to have no end in sight despite the recent reinstatement of 119 services. Both Tim and I have provided numerous comments on how the Government should and must intervene in a situation that is completely and utterly out of hand, and we share the exasperation of GTR’s customers.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 21 Comments

Baroness Jenny Randerson writes…For our transport sector Brexit means we are currently going nowhere fast

Although few people have talked about it, Brexit is going to raise serious issues about how we get about. Our transport sector faces practical problems that need to be solved, or at least grappled with. These are issues that affect us in everyday life. I am pretty sure that people who voted to leave still expect to be able to fly abroad to their summer holidays and to buy goods that have been transported safely and in a timely manner from other countries. There is a simple, practical fact about which nobody—no referendum, no decision—can do anything: the continent of Europe, the land mass, stands between us and much of the rest of the world.

One immediate issue is the Channel Tunnel. The dream of the Channel Tunnel long predates the European Union, but the tunnel was constructed while Britain was a member and it has been executed and managed with EU membership at the forefront. It is privately financed and privately run by an Anglo-French consortium and its scale is simply enormous—400 trains a day, 50,000 passengers a day and 54,000 tonnes of freight a day. We cannot ignore that the British border is in France, an arrangement which has already been put under considerable doubt.

It is clear that many who voted to leave did so in the expectation of tighter border controls. This conflicts with the inspiration behind the Channel Tunnel, to have freer and faster movement of both people and goods between Britain and France. Any moves to implement tighter controls or to apply them in different ways will inevitably have an impact on business and on the enormous investment that the Channel Tunnel represents.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

Jenny Randerson writes… The final decision on Heathrow is imminent and Lib Dems are standing firm

It feels as if we have been waiting for a decision on airport expansion for a very long time. And in fact we have been – it was 2012 when the Airports Commission was set up and asked to come up with a recommendation for how the UK can best meet its international connectivity needs. But we finally have the long awaited “Davies Report”, and it is now up to the Government to make the final decision.

They are facing a major political dilemma. The report has a very clear conclusion: Heathrow is the airport it wants to see expanded. But …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

The future of the railways – a Liberal view

Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a People’s Railway has sparked interest and support, tinged with more than a little nostalgia for a past that really didn’t exist. Those who hanker after British Rail were clearly not there. It was the butt of national jokes about punctuality, cancellations, strikes and stale sandwiches. It was also serving a transport market very different from today. Rail journeys in Britain have doubled since 1997 and are set to continue rising rapidly. Freight traffic increases every year too. Our rail lines are the busiest and most intensively used in Europe if not the world. Britain has the only growing rail market in Europe. So when people adversely compare our structure with that in France or Germany it is worth remembering that they are declining businesses while every aspect of Brtish railways is growing fast and needs to do so, because of our growing population and if we are to have a successful economy.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 48 Comments

Baroness Jenny Randerson writes…Optimism and determination of Welsh campaign teams is impressive

When I am travelling around Wales I take every opportunity as to go out campaigning with our Welsh MPs. Last week I was out knocking doors with Mark Williams and his team in Lampeter. I am a seasoned Ceredigion campaigner- I don’t think I have missed an election there in the last 15 years. So I know what to expect, and the atmosphere hasn’t changed. Mark is known by almost everyone and regarded with huge respect for his constant hard work in a constituency where local issues are particularly important.

In Brecon and Radnor the “Williams Team” are equally well known and Roger is particularly well established in the farming community. Campaigning in such a sparsely populated area is never easy and elections in B and R are not for the faint hearted. But once again we have the benefit of a well-liked and respected candidate and a strong local party able to support him.

Cardiff Central is about as big a contrast as you can imagine: it is geographically the smallest Welsh constituency but, as an inner city seat it has a big turnover of population. I live in the area so it is no surprise that I campaign there regularly. As a Labour facing seat it will obviously be very closely fought and Jenny Willott’s Labour opponent is particularly well funded as she is a Trade Union lawyer. Jenny and our team are working as hard as it is possible to do and, once again, her name is well known and her reputation for hard work is frequently mentioned. Labour infighting on the Council and their plans to close libraries and reduce bin collections have persuaded a lot of local people that they cannot be trusted. The core Lib Dem team in Central are experienced, tough campaigners, but there are also a lot of new members, many of them young, for whom this is their first general election as activists.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments

Jenny Randerson AM: why I want to lead the Welsh Liberal Democrats

Once upon a time, Wales was full of hope for the future. The narrowly won referendum on the creation of Assembly had ushered in a new period for Wales. The idea that ‘never again’ could an “English” Government wreak devastation across the country as they had in the eighties, provided the prospect of a bright future for Wales.

Nearly ten years have now passed and Labour is approaching the half way point of its third term in office. The promised transformation of Welsh services and society has not yet come to pass. Wales is still the poorest nation of the UK; …

Posted in Leadership Election, Op-eds and Wales | 2 Comments
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