Grand Central has confirmed that its current suspension of trains will continue through June as bosses continue to monitor government advice.
As rail passengers return to a new timetable and social distancing rules this week, Grand Central’s Managing Director said the company would be continuing to shape its return whilst monitoring passenger demand throughout June.
Richard McClean said: “Being an Open Access train operator means, unlike franchised operators, we must sell enough tickets to cover our operating costs. The safety of our staff and passengers is essential, but social distancing rules mean we cannot yet welcome the number of customers needed to run the service sustainably. I think over the coming month we’ll get a really informative picture of passenger attitude, Government intentions and how the industry is dealing with social distancing but for now, the most sensible course of action for us is to monitor all this and use the time to plan our return.”
The majority of staff at Grand Central have been told to continue on the furlough scheme, whilst skeleton staff continues to finalise plans for services with parent company, Arriva.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support we are getting from our passengers,” said Mr McClean. “We recently conducted a survey of attitudes amongst our customers and social media followers. We enjoyed a huge response, and it was heartening to see how many people and communities rely on us and can’t wait to be back on board.
Richard continued “It also provided us with a really useful insight into what people expect from us in terms of social distancing, ticketing and how we deliver service on board. We will continue to check in with our customers in this way to ensure the timing of our return and the service we offer meets their needs.”
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