West Midlands Trains to additionally invest for service improvement

The UK Department of Transport (DfT) has required West Midlands Trains (WMT) to additionally invest GBP 20 million (EUR 23.6 million) on improving services for passengers after badly breaching its performance targets.

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.

Since their May 2019 timetable change WMT’s performance has deteriorated to such an extent that they have exceeded breach level on delay minutes and cancellations franchise agreement targets. Under the terms of their contract, WMT are required to agree a ‘remedial plan’ to ensure that performance recovers.

The investment will be used for passengers’ compensation by offering discounts, for timetable improvements, with wide-ranging changes planned for May 2020 and December 2020, to recruit additional drivers. In addition, the funding will see an investment in day to day operations, to make services more reliable.

The DfT says that the 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.

“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,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

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