Rail satisfaction in the West Midlands drops to its lowest score in a decade

Image: WMR

West Midlands passengers registered disapproval with recent poor performance, as rail satisfaction dropped by 11 percentage points to its lowest score in a decade.

The figures released today by Transport Focus, an independent transport watchdog are part of national survey of almost 28,000 passengers between 2 September to 10 November 2019. More than 1,000 passengers surveyed were West Midlands Trains passengers.

West Midlands Trains which operates West Midlands Railway runs local services across the West Midlands encompassing Birmingham, Worcester, Staffordshire, across the black country and extending into Shropshire and Herefordshire.

It also runs London Northwestern, which operates services through the Midlands, linking London Euston all the way through to Liverpool as well as services through the Trent Valley.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Passengers tell us that their biggest priority is rail services they can rely on to actually get them to work on time, or home at a reasonable hour. When that doesn’t happen, it impacts the rest of their day.

“West Midlands passengers will welcome the additional compensation announced recently – and we urge them to claim everything they can, to send a strong message to the industry and to Make Delay Pay. But ultimately the trains still need to run on time and we want to hear from the operator how it intends to get services back on track.”

Transport Focus will use the evidence from the survey as it continues to push for wide-scale reform of the industry, and immediate improvement in reliability for the worst-affected areas.

The full national report can be found at www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/publications/national-rail-passenger-survey-nrps-autumn-2019-main-report

The report today comes as West Midlands Trains new managing director Julian Edwards announced further compensation for passengers in the form of a 10 per cent discount.

The discount will apply to the walk-up fares for every Off-Peak journey made on West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway services throughout July and August. A further announcement regarding compensation linked to holiday periods will be made in due course.

In addition, WMT will be running a new campaign in the coming weeks to ensure as many customers as possible apply for Delay Repay when they’re entitled to it.

These measures follow the 3% reduction in the cost of weekly, monthly and annual season tickets on the network, announced last month.

“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” said Julian Edwards.

He added: “The number of trains arriving on time has increased by 29 per cent since Christmas with cancellations down by 39 per cent. Overall performance has increased by over 10 per cent.

“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.”