West Midlands mayor Andy Street says train operator will be kept under 'strict review'

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has released a statement on the future of troubled West Midlands Trains.

Mr Street announced he will be keeping the train operator under strict review after some improvements were made, but warned they could still be stripped of their franchise.

He also said he will be asking the Government to impose a serious fine and hand over local rail powers.

In response, West Midlands Trains say they are "pleased" the Mayor recognised they were moving in the right direction.

The company runs the Cross City line through Birmingham city centre and for several months passengers have experienced delays, cancellations, and changes to services, many of the problems stemming from a new timetable introduced in May.

Although he has no direct control over rail services, Mr Street gave the company until midnight on Friday to improve, or said he would request that they lose the franchise.

Last week, a damning passenger survey by Transport Focus revealed that customer satisfaction had dropped 11 per cent in the last year, and punctuality had also fallen by 15 per cent, making it the second worst company in the country for passenger satisfaction.

The new Managing Director of WMT, Julian Edwards, told Bob Warman he felt sorry for the commuter, but that the company was starting to make improvements.

The company has discounted season ticket prices by three per cent, and announced passengers will receive a ten per cent discount on their travel this summer.

“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.

“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.”