TRAIN franchise London Midland will continue on the West Coast mainline until 2015, the Government has announced.
However, the train company will have to pay out £7 million worth of day-passes for customers after a driver shortage forced them to cancel many services throughout the year.
In handing down the punishment, the Government has earmarked September 2015 as the end date to the company’s franchise on the West Coast Mainline, and told it £2.25 million of improvements must be carried out in that time.
After the controversial U-turn made when the Virgin Trains franchise was withdrawn and then reinstated, Andrew Pakes, Labour and Co-operative Parliamentary Spokesman for Milton Keynes dubbed the whole situation a ‘shambles.’
He said: “The compensation on tickets will be a welcome acknowledgement for passengers after months of delays and disruptions. It has been chaos on the West Coast this year with the £40million shambles over the Virgin franchise and problems with London Midland. The Government need to get tough with franchise holders to ensure passengers come first. Passengers want services that run on time and offer value for money. Getting things right in the first place is better than compensation afterwards.”
Transport Minister Norman Baker MP said: “London Midland has cancelled or delayed hundreds of services in recent months. On repeated occasions, they were not able to provide enough drivers and some services had to be cancelled, with severe delays to services, and they have fallen short both of everyone’s expectations and their franchise obligations.
“Securing these benefits for passengers represents a firm yellow-card for London Midland and some financial benefit for those who have been hardest hit by their poor performance.
“I am confident London Midland has now rectified their driver shortage but the company need to be clear that we will continue to monitor their performance closely and take firmer action if necessary.”