Poor train service puts jobs at risk

By Ian Dipple Friday 22 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 10:05

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CONTINUED delays and cancellations on London Midland trains are putting jobs at risk.

A recent poll of over 300 London Midland passengers revealed two out of five commuters had been spoken to by their boss about their timekeeping as a result of using a delayed train.

Figures from London Midland show between mid-November and mid-December some 40 per cent of Birmingham commuter trains were delayed by more than five minutes – the worst since records began four years ago.

Performance to mid-January improved with 31 per cent of services delayed but the figure rose to almost 34 per cent in the week leading up to February 2.

For services in and out of Birmingham New Street, including on the Redditch branch line, between 28 and 32 per cent of trains were delayed during the same time period.

Towards the end of last year a driver shortage meant over 1,000 trains were cancelled between October and December 9. It led to the Government ordering the firm to give away £7million worth of free and cheap tickets and Prime Minister David Cameron warning the company was on 'a warning list'.

Patrick Verwer, London Midland's managing director, pledged services would improve after December 9 but the survey showed only six per cent of passengers had experienced no delays to their journeys since that date.

Three quarters of people thought the service had deteriorated since July last year.

Joanne Ashford, one of the passengers responsible for the survey, said: "As paying passengers, we want to see the performance statistics London Midland is submitting to the government as a result of being on the ‘warning list’, as well as a clear action plan on how they will improve the service. We have put up with a poor quality of service for long enough, and now London Midland must be held accountable."

Redditch MP Karen Lumley, who is also a member of the Transport Select Committee, said: "The results of this survey show that London Midland’s failures are putting jobs at risk and damaging the economic prospects of commuters up and down the country. In places such as Redditch, people are dependent on these services. Commuters are being asked to pay more and more, yet the service provided by London Midland has worsened. There is no excuse for such failure and I will continue to press the Department of Transport to ensure people have the service they pay for and rightly deserve."

A London Midland spokesman said: "Since the start of the year, disruption caused by elements within our control has been minimal. However, we continue to work with a range of partners to reduce the inconvenience faced by passengers as a result of infrastructure issues, such as signal and points failures."

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