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MPs call for sacking of Avanti West Coast

04 October 2022
 

A group of five Tory MPs in north Wales have called for Avanti West Coast to lose its rail franchise. This follows the train operator’s decision to cut back trains to Holyhead on Anglesey to one each way daily.

MPs James Davies, who represents Vale of Clwyd; Simon Baynes of Clwyd South; Virginia Crosbie of Ynys Môn; David Jones of Clwyd West; and Robin Millar from Aberconwy have written to rail minister Kevin Foster urging him to dismiss Avanti. “Travellers across the north Wales mainline are obliged to change trains at least once, and frequently twice,” they told the minister.

“In short, the mainline has now been reduced to the status of a branch line, to the enormous inconvenience of north Wales passengers. You will of course be aware that Avanti has pursued a business model of relying heavily on drivers to undertake overtime work as a matter of course.

“The short-sightedness of such a policy is manifest in the dreadful service that passengers are now having to endure, despite the best efforts of Avanti train staff, who are undoubtedly as dispirited by the company's performance as everyone else.”

A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said: “We know we’re not delivering the service our customers rightly expect and we apologise for the enormous frustration and inconvenience.

“Our customers and communities in north Wales and Chester deserve a dependable train service, so we're currently working hard to rebuild our timetable in a resilient and sustainable way.

“Resolving this situation requires a robust plan that will allow us to gradually increase services without being reliant on traincrew overtime, which has fallen dramatically in recent weeks. We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “People deserve certainty and confidence that their train will run on time, and while the change of schedule was unavoidable, it should minimise the fallout for passengers.

“The problems facing Avanti are a prime example of why we need to modernise our railways, so passengers benefit from reliable timetables that don't rely on the goodwill of drivers volunteering to work overtime in the first place.

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