A watchdog has called for passengers to be compensated after train operator Thameslink apologised for delays and cancellations caused by a shortage of drivers.
London TravelWatch met with the chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway to discuss performance problems arising on the new franchise, which began in September.
A spokesman for the watchdog said: “As the independent body representing passengers in and around London we are concerned that those using the services provided under the new Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise are not getting the service they were promised, particularly given the large amounts of money they pay on fares.”
The train operator is currently training 62 new drivers and recruiting another 89 to fill staff shortages.
Chairman of London TravelWatch Stephen Locke said: “A significant gesture is necessary now if they are to have any chance of recovering the trust and confidence of increasingly cynical commuters who, being effectively a captive market, have no choice but to put up with the situation.”
He called for Govia Thameslink Railway, the Department for Transport and Network Rail to agree a compensation package for all those affected by the disruptions.
“It is also essential that the operator, Network Rail and DfT reflect on the lessons learned from what has been a frustrating start to the new franchise for passengers, to ensure that similar problems do not occur when other franchises are let,” he said.
A Thameslink spokesman said: “We appreciate the concerns raised by London TravelWatch. Passengers have already been claiming compensation through our Delay Repay scheme if they are delayed by more than 30 minutes. Also, under this new franchise, we have enhanced compensation so that passengers will be able to claim additional compensation if they are delayed to this extent 12 times or more in a four-week business period.”