Train operator Merseyrail is to reduce frequencies across its Liverpool city region network with COVID absences causing staff shortages. Tony McDonough reports
Services across the Merseyrail network are to be reduced from Monday, January 17, as it battles with staff absences due to COVID-19.
Liverpool city region is now a hotspot for the COVID-19 omicron variant. Significant levels of transmission means many people are having to isolate. This is having an impact on staffing levels across the economy.
From next Monday services on the Merseyrail network, including both Northern and Wirral lines, will change to a 30-minute service until further notice. It is hoped that by taking these measures that the operator will be able to avoid last minute cancellations and give passengers time to adjust their travel plans where needed.
Prior to this, between January 10 and 16, there will be pre-planned cancellations in place on the network. Further information on these can be found by clicking here.
Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, said: “Our staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that we can provide a safe and reliable service to the people of the Liverpool city region.
“However, as is the case on other parts of the UK rail network, the omicron variant has significantly increased the number of front-line staff being absent from work. This means that we need to reduce the number of trains we run to ensure that our services remain reliable.
“I would advise all customers to check our website and social media feeds before they travel, and we will continue to work hard to provide the best service that we can.”
Merseyrail customers are also being reminded that the wearing of face coverings on public transport is mandatory unless exempt.