1. ITV Report

Mayor calls for WMTS to be 'stripped' of franchise if improvements aren't made

West Midland Trains has come under fire from Mayor Andy Street over 'woeful' service. Credit: PA images

The West Midlands Mayor has called for West Midlands Train Service to be 'stripped' of the franchise if improvements aren't made.

Andy Street has said today (23 December) he's 'lost faith' in their ability to run the network.

He added the service is 'quite simply, woeful' and that the problems with the region's railways has been dragging on for months.

The mayor said his suggestions to improve the service after a meeting with both West Midlands Transport (WMT) and their owners Abellio were rejected.

In his statement, released on social media this morning, Mr Street said that if the WMT don't restore a reliable service by January 31, 2020 - he will ask the Depart of Transport to strip them of the franchise.

West Midland Train Credit: PA images

In response to the Mayor's statement, West Midlands Trains said they have spoken with the Mayor and the DfT 'extensively' on how to speed up improvements already planned.

"We recognise that the May timetable has not worked and apologise to all our passengers who have been affected.

"Last week we brought in extra carriages and made changes to the timetable to improve capacity and performance.

"Unfortunately, in that short period, we also experienced many incidents outside our control.

"These included several track and signalling failures – managed by Network Rail, trespass - including a person being struck by a train - and anti-social behaviour disrupting a very busy service.

"December’s changes are only part of a bigger plan to improve performance which we presented to the West Midlands Rail Executive and the DfT last week. "We consulted with the Mayor and the DfT extensively on how to speed up improvements already planned.

"Together, we explored bringing forward next May’s timetable with Network Rail but that was not possible due to the impact on the wider rail industry.

“We have committed to an enhanced compensation package for West Midlands rail users which will recognise the planned national fares increase in January. "We are discussing with the Mayor and the DfT how best to deliver this. Subject to approval, we will announce details of the package early in the new year."

– West Midlands Trains, Managing Director Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde said:

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