Stevenage woman with disability says new Govia train services are ‘awful’

Amanda Batt, who uses walking sticks, says the new train timetable makes her life extremely difficul

Amanda Batt, who uses walking sticks, says the new train timetable makes her life extremely difficult - Credit: Archant

A Stevenage woman has said the debacle with Govia Thameslink’s new timetable is affecting her in her first job since being registered disabled two years ago.

Amanda Batt commutes from Stevenage to Welwyn Garden City each day for her job in telesales, which she started three weeks ago.

She told this newspaper: “It’s just awful, really awful. It’s been a nightmare, and no one seems to know what’s going on. With all the cancellations, it makes the trains absolutely rammed.

“The worst time was when I went for the 4.55pm train and I didn’t get back to Stevenage until half past six.

“I’m disabled and was off work for nearly two years, but I decided I wanted to go back to work. I got sick of just being seen as a disabled person.

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“The trains were rubbish even when I was going for my interview, and to think they’ve had a year to implement this new timetable.”

Amanda has two prolapsed discs, arthritis in her hips, knees and one ankle and needs sticks to get around, but rarely receives help getting on and off trains while most passengers will not give up their seat for her.

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“People don’t really give up their seats for me when it’s so crowded,” she continued.

“Occasionally they will, but – if I’m down at the end of the carriage – by the time I’ve actually got to it it’s nearly time to get off.

“The fact that you can rarely ever find a manager is making it worse. All of the staff are having to deal with cancellations and upset people.

“They should, at the very least, have a manager at every station until they get this sorted.”

Most recently, upset commuters have called for Govia to revert back to the old timetable and Herts County Council have collectively supported a motion condemning the problems which include multiple cancellations and delays resulting in overcrowding.

A spokeswoman for Govia said: “We apologise to passengers for the continued disruption linked to the introduction of the new timetable. We are working on a recovery plan with rail industry partners.

“Meanwhile, as late notice changes continue to be made, we ask passengers to check train times on the day of travel. We expect disruption to ease over the coming month.”

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