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Commuters confront rail chiefs at public meeting in Princes Risborough
COMMUTERS challenged train bosses at a packed meeting on Tuesday night about the timetable changes from Princes Risborough.
Six officials from Chiltern Railways answered questions from concerned commuters at The Princes Centre in Clifford Road.
The changes brought in from December caused discontent among some rail users who said it has made their working day even longer.
The main complaint was the removal of the 7.28am and the 6.13pm trains.
Managing director of Chiltern Railways, Rob Brighouse, said the level of service they aim to provide from Princes Risborough to London is two trains per hour.
He said: "My honest belief is that a 30 minute interval time table is the right level of service to provide."
And he said they have to be commercially viable otherwise the company would go bankrupt.
He said in 2008 they received £17m per annum from the government but in 2013 they need to give £8m premium to the government which will rise to £30m per annum in 2017.
He said he has to look at it from a commercial level and focus on the areas of growth, otherwise Chiltern Railways would have to withdraw.
Mr Brighouse said: "We will never do that. We will not hand back the keys but if we did the service levels would almost certainly deteriorate."
He also emphasised that since the timetable changes came into place everyone can get a seat into London as they have increased capacity.
One commuter criticised the level of service to Birmingham in the morning and the £7 cost of the car park.
Mr Brighouse said the price at their stations is fair and commuters are free to park elsewhere.
Thomas Ableman, commercial director of Chiltern, said the demand from Risborough to Birmingham in the morning is quite low so they have to look at it commercially.
Commuter Nick Haydon said Chiltern encouraged people to get on the 7.28am train and 6.13pm train when they were introduced, which they did and liked it but now it has removed.
He said Chiltern promised quicker journey times but the changes have made commuters' days longer.
Mr Haydon added: "If you diminish the service it is going to become a self fulfilling prophecy."
Vanessa Kemp said she moved to Princes Risborough for the good train service and she is now considering moving.
She said the poor service will put others off moving to the town.
Mr Brighouse said he would be happy to provide a link with the town's rail user group to carry on discussing the issue.
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