New train boss makes pledge to reduce firm’s off-peak fares - The Evesham Observer

New train boss makes pledge to reduce firm’s off-peak fares

John Carlon 29th Jan, 2020   0

THE NEWLY appointed chief of West Midlands Trains has pledged to reduce off-peak fares by a tenth this summer.

Julian Edwards, who took over the leadership of the beleaguered franchise this month, said the 10 per cent discount would give some compensation for recent poor performance on the region’s railways.

The discount will apply to the walk-up fares for every Off-Peak journey made on West Midlands Railway (WMR) and London Northwestern Railway (LNR) services throughout July and August.

The group also announced a three per cent reduction in the cost of weekly, monthly and annual season tickets on the network.

West Midlands Trains has attracted the ire of politicians, from Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, over prolonged delays and cancellations since it took over the franchise.

In the House of Commons on January 8, Mr Johnson said he would also look at revoking West Midlands Trains’ franchise in the light of its dire performance.

Last month, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street gave West Midlands Trains an ultimatum to improve its performance or face being stripped of its franchise by February.

Figures for passenger satisfaction have plummeted as West Midlands Trains’ new timetable, rolled out in May 2019, brought passengers misery with increased delays and cancellations.

Mr Edwards said: “Our performance during the second half of last year was simply unacceptable. I’ve put in place a clear plan of improvements which is already having an impact.

“The number of trains arriving on time has increased by 29 per cent since Christmas with cancellations down by 39 per cent. Overall performance has increased by over 10 per cent.

“There is more to do, however, and we are making further timetable changes to improve performance, starting next month – with a commitment to only use skip-stopping as a last-resort and under extreme circumstances.

“This year we will also introduce brand-new trains on the network while working with the Mayor on reopening stations on the Camp Hill and Wolverhampton-Walsall lines.”


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