The Prime Minister has warned Avanti it must get back on track and deliver for Tatton’s rail users - following demands from Esther McVey to ensure her constituents get a service fit for purpose.
The Tatton MP said it was potluck on whether a service would run and commuters were rightly fed up.
Speaking in Prime Minister’s Questions she said: “The train service between Wilmslow in my constituency and London was always hourly, direct, and took 1 hour 50 mins. Now, you would be very lucky to get a direct train and that journey time can often be double what it should be. This is not restricted to strike days; that is day in day out on Avanti Trains.”
“Can the Prime Minister tell my constituents what the government is going to do to sort this out and get the West coast service back to what it used to be because the service at the moment is completely unacceptable.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed with the comments and criticised the failing provider.
He said “My Right Honourable Friend is right about the unacceptable deterioration and the quality of Avanti service and the Transport Secretary is rightly monitoring and holding them to account.
“There is a plan to increase the number of trains with 100 initial drivers and restoring the full direct service from Manchester to London.”
Mr Sunak then called on Labour MPs to support better transport services and oppose strike action, adding “what this plan needs is, is trade union co-operation.”
Ms McVey’s call comes as information published by The Office of Rail and Road showed the company cancelled eight per cent of trains on the day in the 12 months to November, compared to 3.8 per cent nationally. According to the Office of Rail and Road the figures only relate to on the day cancellations and do not include planned strikes or advance cancellations, meaning the actual numbers will be significantly higher.
In October government warned Avanti it must “drastically improve” if it wanted to keep running services on the West Coast. It has been given until April to improve its services and government said it must deliver to the “stand we and the public expect.”