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Commuters meet rail chief
6:17pm Wednesday 16th January 2008 in News
Commuters campaigning for a better rail service between Oxford and London met First Great Western's chief operating officer today.
Members of OxRail Action met Andrew Haines to discuss the punctuality and reliability of trains between Oxford and London.
They also lobbied him over fare increases introduced at the start of the month, suggesting they should be frozen due to the unreliability of key commuter services.
Mr Haines refused to freeze fares for Oxford commuters but pledged to make changes to operations in the coming weeks that would bring "tangible" improvements. This included the recruitment of about 30 new drivers.
Zahra Akkerhuys, a spokesman for OxRail Action, who attended the meeting, said: "This was our first opportunity to meet Mr Haines since he took over the role at the end of last year and it was a very positive meeting.
"He did acknowledge that the service between Oxford and Paddington had been unsatisfactory on some occasions.
"We were impressed with Mr Haines' knowledge of the rail infrastructure and his can-do attitude. There have been improvements in the service in recent weeks, but there's a long way to go."
FGW spokesman Adrian Ruck said: "We're always happy to listen to customers' concerns and hear constructive feedback.
"We have had a series of meetings with OxRail Action over the past 18 months and as a result we have been able to make improvements to the service."
Richard Rowland, FGW's Thames Valley general manager, added: "We understand fully what OxRail Action are looking for. I believe we're beginning to see green shoots in terms of performance."