Fares, rail policy and DfT news

10.02.20

Government action on poor West Midlands Trains

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps has today (Feb 9th) called for West Midlands Trains to invest an extra £20m on improving services for passengers after consistent poor services.

The funding is set to help passengers across the West Midlands, who use West Midlands Railway and London Northerwestern services, see improvements on timetables and the enrolment of new train drivers to tackle staff shortages.

They will also continue to be offered compensation for poor service with discounts on season tickets and off-peak fares.

The Department for Transport has illustrated clearly that operators should see this step as a warning that poor performance, which therefore impacts passengers, and failing to meet contractual obligations will be taken seriously with a response.

The additional £20m funding will be used for a range of measures such as:

  • Providing compensation for passengers who receive a poor service by offering a 3% discount on season ticket renewals
  • Multiple timetable improvements, with wide-ranging changes planned for May 2020 and December 2020
  • Recruiting extra conductors and drivers to aid staff shortages
  • Investment in day to day operations, to make services more reliable

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “One of my priorities is getting the trains to run on time, and as a commuter myself I understand all too well the frustration caused by endless delays and cancellations.

“West Midlands Trains have failed to fulfil their obligations – to their franchise agreement and, most importantly, to their passengers. The action we’re taking means they must invest in rapidly improving services, so that passengers have reliable, punctual trains they can rely on.”

Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister said: “Having monitored the poor performance of West Midlands Trains with great concern, we’re taking action to ensure they fulfil their contractual commitments and deliver the service passengers deserve.

“Every minute of delay adds up, and for far too long passengers have been left stuck on train platforms at the mercy of a fickle live departure board. Having our country’s trains run on time must be the rule, not the exception. This is a warning that operators simply must do better for their passengers.”

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