Summer driver shortages wreck Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar train services

Govia's online ap blamed driver shortages

Govia's online ap blamed driver shortages - Credit: Archant

Angry train passengers have slammed train operator Govia after a flood of cancellations of Welwyn Hatfield services to London.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times has been deluged with complaints from passengers whose journeys to football matches and theatre performances between Saturday and Monday were badly disrupted.

Lester Freeman, 52, of Chestnut Walk, Welwyn, explained that all the candellations were attributed to driver shortages on Govia’s online ap.

Over the three-day period, his two planned theatre trips were disrupted, and he was nearly late for a meeting.

He said: “One person is off, and hundreds of people are inconvenienced.

“Why is there no stand-by system?”

Passengers trying to travel from Welwyn North or Knebworth, he said, were forced to wait for as long as three hours.

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Mr Freeman added: “Why don’t they get the fast trains from Stevenage to make a couple of extra stops rather than just leaving people stranded?”

Retired teacher Stella Howell, 66, of Strafford Gate, Potters Bar said: “We were taking our granddaughter to a show. It was supposed to be a treat, but it turned into a nightmare.

“They [Govia} are appalling.”

The company is embroiled in a bitter industrial dispute over its planned withdrawl of guards from its Southern service, but says the issue does not affect the Great Northern trains serving Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar.

A spokeswoman said: “We sincerely apologise for the number of cancelled trains on the Great Northern route over the last few days and to passengers at stations between Potters Bar to Welwyn North.

“Unfortunately we had to cancel a number of trains over the weekend due to short term driver non-availability.

“We currently have a driver vacancy gap which we are addressing by running the UK’s largest driver training and recruitment drive; however during periods of high annual leave, such as the school summer holidays, it does mean some services are at risk of cancellation.”