Merseyrail to offer refunds to frustrated passengers: here's what you really think of train service

"Get the new trains working better” - passengers frustrated by Merseyrail services being delayed or cancelled could be given their money back.
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Passengers frustrated by Merseyrail services being delayed or cancelled could be given their money back.

In January last year, passengers on the Kirkby line became the first on the region’s rail network to commute on the new £500m publicly owned trains. During this initial roll out, services were reduced from four an hour, to one every half hour.

However, some users have been irritated by frequent issues emerging on the line. In a bid to “recognise the patience and understanding” shown by passengers, they could be in for a refund as the Metro Mayor admitted services had “fallen short of standard.”

As services are upped to three per hour, those who bought a weekly, monthly, term-time or annual ticket, in 2023 at Fazakerley, Kirkby or Headbolt Lane stations will receive a letter with information about how to claim their money back in full. Further announcements are planned to recognise non-Railpass holders whose journeys have been affected and more details will be provided as soon as possible.

In October, the new £80m station at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby opened to passengers for the first time. A month later, the Mayor met with train manufacturer Stadler and made clear, in no uncertain terms, his dissatisfaction with the disruption to services and demanded sustainable improvements, while urging train operator Merseyrail to do everything possible to minimise disruption.

But commuters have still been left frustrated and have been taking to social media to air their dissatisfaction. We have been on the streets of Liverpool to find out what you think of the service.

Susan tells us what she thinks of Merseyrail’s serviceSusan tells us what she thinks of Merseyrail’s service
Susan tells us what she thinks of Merseyrail’s service
  • Susan said: "I've not had a problem, but I don't have the Rockferry line. You can guarantee that those lines are going to be out most frequently because they always are, I don't know whether that's investment or what."
  • Nick said: "They might get the new trains working better, but that's probably not their fault. I know things go wrong occasionally and the local press make a great fuss when they do. And it's very tiresome for commuters when they don't work. But by and large, they are reliable."
  • Kevin said: "It's alright. The trains could do with a wash. They're alright on the inside but you can't see out the windows. Thy could with more of the new trains. I have just seen a girl in a mobility scooter and it was a bit of struggle to get the plate out to put her up. The news trains are all on the same level."
  • Watch the video above for more reaction from commuters and our full feature on Merseyrail.
Nick tells us what he thinks of Merseyrail’s serviceNick tells us what he thinks of Merseyrail’s service
Nick tells us what he thinks of Merseyrail’s service

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “It’s been a transformational 12 months for our local rail network. From launching the country’s first publicly owned trains in a generation to opening the new £80m Headbolt Lane station – we are creating a brighter, better connected future for our region’s railways.

“However, being a pioneer hasn’t come without its challenges. We anticipated that we would encounter some teething issues and disruption during the delivery of our new station and trains, but I’ll be the first to say that services on the Kirkby line have fallen short of the standards that our passengers deserve.

“While I cannot undo the disruption that passengers have already faced, I hope this gesture demonstrates our appreciation for their patience and understanding. I want to reassure passengers that we are working around the clock to overcome these challenges and we are already seeing sustainable improvements.

“It is my belief that these issues will soon be behind us and passengers will be able to enjoy decades of reliable service from one of the most sophisticated and accessible fleets in the country.”