Following a number of complaints from his constituents about the level of service on the Abellio Greater Anglia line into Liverpool Street Station, Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois recently met with the Managing Director of Abellio Greater Anglia, Mr Jamie Burles, to raise these issues with him in person.
During the meeting, Mark raised concerns with Mr Burles regarding the cost of tickets, poor reliability, delays to services (and lack of information when this happens) and old rolling stock, which lacks air conditioning - unlike on the parallel C2C line into Fenchurch Street.
Mr Burles admitted that in recent months passengers have not been receiving the quality of service they should expect. He explained that Abellio have started installing IPads in their drivers’ cabs, so that drivers can be sent up to the minute information on delays and then inform passengers in turn.
As part of the new franchise, in 2018/19 Abellio will begin introducing over 1,000 new carriages across East Anglia, including on the Southend line. Costing over £1 billion, these new trains should be state-of-the-art, with air conditioning, wi-fi and much greater reliability than the old trains they will replace. All this should also help to reduce delays significantly.
After the meeting, Mark Francois said:
"My meeting with Mr Burles was generally positive and I was pleased to hear about the improvements that should accompany the new franchise. However, the new trains Abellio are planning to introduce are still some years away. In the meantime I shall keep up the pressure on Abellio to raise their game and to provide a more reliable service, which my constituents would no doubt wish to see.”