West Midlands Trains told to spend extra £20m on improving services

West Midlands Trains has been told to spend an extra £20 million to improve its services for passengers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the service will need to spend more money after 'badly breaching' performance targets.

It follows calls by The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street to strip WMT of the franchise for a 'woeful' service.

On Monday (3 February) he announced they will be keeping the train operator but 'under strict review'.

However, the threat of franchise removal still looms according to Mr Street.

Credit: PA images

The Department for Transport say passengers across the region will benefit from the additional funding.

With it being invested in delivering timetable improvements and recruiting new train drivers to tackle staff shortages.

Rail users will also continue to be offered compensation for poor service with discounts on season tickets and off-peak fares.

The additional £20m funding will be used for a variety of measures including:

  • Compensating passengers for the poor service by offering a 3% discount on season ticket renewals and offering a 10% reduction in off peak fares during July and August 2020

  • A series of timetable improvements, with wide-ranging changes planned for May 2020 and December 2020

  • Recruitment of additional drivers and senior conductors to combat staffing shortages

  • Investment in day to day operations, to make services more reliable

Credit: ITV News Central

The DoT has warned that operators should consider this a 'warning' that poor performances impacting on passengers and the failure to meet contractual obligations will be met with a 'firm response'.

In response to the Department for Transport announcement, West Midlands Trains said they have 'developed a robust recovery plan which builds on our recent improved reliability'.

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