Avanti West Coast earns 6-month contract extension following “significant improvements”
A train operator which slashed services from North Wales and Chester to London has been handed a 6-month contract extension following “significant improvements,” the UK government has announced.
This decision comes almost 6 months after the operator was initially put on a short-term contract by the UK government and ordered to develop a recovery plan aimed at addressing poor performance on vital West Coast Main Line routes, including between Holyhead, Chester Manchester, Birmingham and London.
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said:
“The routes Avanti West Coast run are absolutely vital, and I fully understand the frustrations passengers felt at the completely unacceptable services seen last Autumn. Following our intervention, Rail Minister Huw Merriman and I have worked closely with local leaders to put a robust plan in place, which I’m glad to see is working.”
“However, there is still more work to be done to bring services up to the standards we expect, which is why over this next 6 months further improvements will need to be made by Avanti West Coast.”
“Although Avanti West Coast has made significant progress in the past 6 months, further work needs to be done to restore reliability and punctuality to the standards that passengers rightly expect.”
“This will include delivering more reliable weekend services, continued reductions in cancellations and improvements in passenger information during planned and unplanned disruption.”
FirstGroup chief executive Graham Sutherland said: “We are working closely with Government and our partners across the industry to deliver a successful railway for our customers and communities.”
“Performance at Avanti is steadily improving and since the introduction of the new timetable in mid-December, the number of services has increased by more than 40% compared to last summer, with more seats and better frequencies.”
“Today’s agreement allows our team to continue their focus on delivering their robust plans to continue enhancing services for our customers, including further progress on our train upgrade and refurbishment programme.”
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