- government taking action to address poor performance of West Midlands Trains
- operator must invest £20 million to improve service for passengers and reduce delays
- Transport Secretary demands rapid introduction of a plan to improve services that passengers rely on
In a stark warning to train operators across the country, West Midlands Trains (WMT) will be required to spend an extra £20 million on improving services for passengers after badly breaching its performance targets, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out today.
Passengers across the West Midlands, who use West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern services, will benefit from the additional funding, which will be invested in delivering timetable improvements and recruiting 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 made clear that operators should consider this step a warning that poor performance impacting on passengers and the failure to meet contractual obligations will be met with a firm response.
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.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris 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.