London Midland's rail franchise extended until 2017

By Tristan Harris Thursday 28 March 2013 Updated: 03/04 01:51

BROMSGROVE Rail User Group (BRUG) has criticised the Government's decision to extend London Midland's franchise until June 2017.

The decision regarding the operator, which runs trains between Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Birmingham and Worcester, comes just a few months after London Midland was forced to cancel about 1,000 trains because of a driver shortage.

The company is also currently offering commuters who suffered disruption between October and December last year the chance to claim a free week of travel. That runs until Sunday (March 31).

Mike Ponsonby, the chairman of BRUG, said: "We in the Bromsgrove Rail User Group are not franchising system as it has added nothing but cost, complexity and fragmentation to Britain's rail network.

"Therefore, we think London Midland should not be rewarded for providing an inferior service by having its five-year contract extended by the Government."

The operator will soon open contract discussions with the Department for Transport over the deal.

Patrick Verwer, London Midland's managing director, welcomed the Government's announcement.

"This gives us the stability for the next four years to continue to improve our service, and focus on providing the reliable, consistent service our passengers expect and deserve. “

“We have seen a continuous period of improvement in our performance since December and we will continue with our on-going programme of driver recruitment and training.

"We will also continue to invest in our stations, and in new innovative technology such as our new 110 mph trains to London.”

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