By Ian Dipple Friday 26 October 2012 Updated: 26/10 16:45
TRAIN firm London Midland should be stripped of responsibility for running services after it announced weeks of cancellations and disruptions.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley has demanded an urgent meeting with the head of the train operator after the company was forced to cancel more than 100 services across the network over the last week - with almost 40 alone on the Redditch to Lichfield Cross-City Line.
London Midland say the problem is being caused by a shortage of drivers as more than 30 have left recently and while extra staff have been taken on, delays and cancellations will continue until they are fully trained. The situation is not expected to be fully resolved until mid-December.
But Mrs Lumley, who has recently been appointed to the Transport Select Committee, said the situation was not good enough and if London Midland was not capable of running the service then they should move aside and allow another firm to takeover.
“This is disgusting and just not good enough. The people of Redditch expect a better service, they pay enough for it, and this could cost jobs. People are relying on these services to get to places.”
Mrs Lumley has also asked Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin what financial penalties could be imposed on London Midland for its poor performance.
In a statement on its website the company said: “We have a dedicated team focusing on delivering the train service on a day-by-day basis and as a result we have been able to run a near-normal timetable on all but a few days, compensating for the shortage with drivers who have volunteered for overtime.
“In addition, our people have agreed to a number of changes to the way we resource our train services in the short-term, which will further reduce the need to cancel trains.”
The firm has also pledged to provide road transport or to slow down faster trains and get them to stop at intermediate stations if a cancellation leads to a significant wait for the next train.
In the meantime the company has taken to providing regular updates on its website with details of services expected to subject to cancellations or altered published at 5pm the day before.
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