MEP slams London Midland over Rowley Regis and Cradley Heath services

UKIP Transport Spokesman Mike Nattrass has demanded London Midland to stop delivering a second class train service to passengers in Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis.

The West Midlands MEP believes the train operator is letting down regular rail users and wants Centro’s drive to take over the franchise when London Midland’s contract expires in 2015.

Almost 1,000 services have been cancelled by London Midland since October due to staff shortages.

Mr Nattrass, said: “Average train fares have soared since the start of the recession but rail passengers continue to endure delays, cancellations and overcrowded carriages.”

“Members of my staff travel with London Midland on a daily basis and see for themselves the failings of this service.”

And Mr Nattrass believes hard up passengers should not have to put up with fare rises.

He said: Train fares continue to rise but where are the improvements?

“London Midland needs to get full steam and deliver reliable rail services. Investment needs to be stoked into the existing rail network and not be wasted on unnecessary and expensive vanity projects like HS2.”

Centro welcomed the Department for Transport consultation which the West Midlands transport authority said showed “widespread support” for local control of rail services.

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “The findings of the Government’s consultation shows a strong consensus is emerging around the benefits of putting decision making for local rail networks in local hands.

“That’s why, with the backing of the wider region, we have formally told the Government that we wish to have responsibility for the local rail franchise from 2015 onwards.”

London Midland’s latest figures revealed that 82.6 per cent of its services were punctual in November.

A spokesman said: “The results show that significant improvements have been made over the past year, particularly in terms of our handling of delays in which passenger satisfaction has increased by 17 per cent since autumn 2011.

“We were also one of only three companies to see increased satisfaction in the areas of value for money, reliability and seating/standing capacity.”

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