Royston rail user slams ‘unsafe COVID practices’ at Cambridge station

Cambridge Railway Station. Picture: Paul Green

Cambridge Railway Station. Picture: Paul Green - Credit: Archant

A Royston rail user has criticised “unsafe practices” by Cambridge railway station staff when she had to use a replacement taxi due to her train being cancelled.

The lady, who is in her 60s and wanted to remain anonymous, said having to get in a taxi ordered by staff when the 22.27 service to King’s Cross was cancelled on August 14 “endangered passengers’ lives” in light of the pandemic.

She told the Crow: “No trains were running due to broken down train at Hitchin. After about an hour of waiting for information, I asked about a replacement bus but was told it was too late to arrange this and the alternative was replacement taxis.

“Eventually the waiting group were told to go to the help desk. A woman with a woolly hat briskly ushered us to follow her outside.

“There was a taxi that was going to Royston, so I stood by it and a couple joined me. I did not know the couple, and they were certainly not following government guidelines.

“I asked the Cambridge station staff member about social distancing but she either ignored me, or could not hear me. I managed to attract her attention by tapping her woolly hat.

“She said it was three in a car, I seemed to have no choice but to accept that if I wanted to get home that night. I felt very nervous to be put into that unsafe situation by a member of staff.”

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The woman then claimed the time the taxi took to get her to Royston was up to double the usual length. She said: “I am disgusted that the Cambridge station staff member should totally ignore health and safety guidelines and place train passengers in an unsafe position – endangering their lives and risking possible abuse.

“Single people, couples and groups should be allotted individual taxis to follow COVID guidelines. Furthermore there should be some control over the routes that taxis take.”

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We apologise for the disruption, which was due to another operator’s train breaking down at Hitchin.

“Our staff worked as quickly as possible to help everyone reach their destinations. However due to the short notice, buses were unable to be sourced and we were only able to book a limited number of taxis.

“Customers are asked to wear face coverings while travelling in taxis, consistent with the guidelines set out by the government. Our customer service manager will contact the customer directly to address her concerns. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”