Progress, but rail firm remains ‘under strict review’ - The Evesham Observer

Progress, but rail firm remains ‘under strict review’

WEST Midlands Trains (WMT) will be kept ‘under strict review’ despite the service showing signs of improvement in January.

Mayor of West Midlands, Andy Street, made the announcement on Monday.

In December he threatened WMT with the removal of its franchise if it was unable to meet the ‘correct standards’ by January 31.

Since his ultimatum Mr Street said the operator has shown ‘some progress’ but he will not hesitate to contact the Department of Transport should standards drop again.

Mr Street wants to see evidence that January’s improvements were not just a one-off and has also asked the Government to impose a ‘serious fine’ over delays and cancellations last year.

“The numbers were stark,” he said, “more than 1,600 trains were cancelled in December.”

“However it is clear that WMT have responded to my public intervention because cancellations have decreased to 203 in January.

“But I still have very serious concerns, and more importantly so do passengers who use the service.”

Since December, WMT have recruited 46 new drivers and 40 new guards to tackle their staff shortages.

The company also offsetted the annual fare rise for season ticket holders with a 3 per cent discount.

In January it appointed a new managing director, Julian Edwards.

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