PROMISES of increased rail services through Bromsgrove have been welcomed after London Midland lost ownership of the franchise.
However, rail fares could spike by 3.6 per cent following the takeover by West Midlands Trains (WMT).
The Department for Transport announced WMT will be in charge of running services from December 10 until 2026, bringing an end to London Midland’s ten-year reign as contract holder.
And after winning the franchise, WMT has promised a £1billion investment strategy to improve the rail network between Birmingham and Hereford, which includes a stop at Bromsgrove Railway Station.
But commuters are set to be hit in the pocket as the Government revealed on Tuesday, regulated rail fare increases will rise by 3.6 per cent from January – the biggest growth in four years.
WMT are allowed to rise ticket prices in accordance with the Retail Price Index but operators do not always implement the maximum increase.
Mike Ponsonby, chairman of Bromsgrove Railway User Group (BRUG), welcomed the promise of improved services but slammed the price increase.
He said: “Bromsgrove Rail User Group thoroughly opposes any increase in rail fares as it is yet another example of the travelling public being fleeced by the private train operating company.
“However, we welcome the increased rail service at the end of the day and particular additional services on Friday and Saturday evening.
“We welcome the provision of extra train carriages in order to reduce overcrowding on the services into Birmingham.”
Plans through Bromsgrove include an additional evening service from Birmingham to Worcester and an earlier weekday service between the two cities by December 2018.
There will also be an enhanced Saturday schedule to provide an hourly service from Birmingham and Worcester.
Additional Saturday evening services between Birmingham and Hereford in both directions will also be implemented by December next year.
An enhanced frequency of Sunday trains will see at least five additional service running between Birmingham and Hereford each way by May 2021.
Saturdays will also receive an earlier first service between Birmingham and Hereford in both directions.
Plans are also afoot to provide better quality trains and customer service for passengers.
Coun Ken Pollock, responsible for economy and infrastructure on Worcestershire County Council, added: “These improvements, which include extra services and refurbished trains, will have a positive impact and benefit the people of this county.
“We know an efficient transport network is key to our Open for Business priority and ensuring that Worcestershire continues to have a prosperous economy.”