MPs 'very disappointed' after Oyster plans shelved for Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar
PUBLISHED: 12:11 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:09 05 June 2018
Plans to extend the Oyster Card system to Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar this year have been scrapped.
Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps and Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden were told that the Department for Transport no longer expected the extension to be completed this year.
At showdown talks last month Rail Minister Jo Johnson said that the department is now reviewing all Oyster extensions to determine how and when they should be made.
It comes after the MPs secured commitment in 2016 from the then Rail Minister that Oyster services would be extended to their constituencies by the end of 2018.
Mr Shapps said: “We have been working incredibly hard to bring Oyster out to Welwyn Hatfield and are very disappointed that this has yet to happen, despite some earlier promises we were given.
“Given the wider mess on our rail service at present, I appreciate that the trains simply running on time and faster is the first priority.
“However, we do still want to see Welwyn Hatfield covered by Oyster and I am doing several things to try to make this a reality.”
Mr Shapps said he will lobby Transport Secretary Chris Grayling this week, and will urge Transport for London to take over the Great Northern line – which will automatically bring Oyster to the borough.
Mr Dowden said: “It was very disappointing to hear from the minister that the department no longer expects Oyster to be delivered to Potters Bar and Radlett this year.
“In my regular meetings with transport ministers over the past two years I have received repeated assurances that the extension was on track.”
He added he will scrutinise DfT’s review later this year and “lobby hard” for the commitment to be honoured.
DfT has been contacted for comment.