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Strike, delays and cancellations – passenger trust must be rebuilt

Recent weeks have seen significant disruption for rail passengers in and around the West Midlands, impacting directly on people’s daily lives.

Trains should offer a reliable means of travelling to work, university or for leisure activities – but they’ve been letting people down recently. This has come on top of problems caused by changes to the timetable impacting on parts of the West Midlands Trains network. This has left passengers frustrated and has eroded their trust in the railway to reliably meet their day-to-day transport needs.

West Midlands Trains has apologised, citing the impact of the timetable changes and a shortage of train crew. The half-term holidays have exacerbated things.

With the next set of National Rail Passenger Survey results to be published in January 2020, passengers need to feel confident that West Midlands Trains will deliver for them. Transport Focus has written to the company asking it to confirm that it is doing everything possible to keep people on the move in the run up to Christmas.

We are pleased that West Midlands Trains is employing more conductors and more drivers, making changes to the timetable so it runs better and is working with others to offer alternative transport, including by bus, during any strikes.

Strikes, which will affect West Midlands Trains and South Western Railway passengers between now and Christmas, will be a bitter pill to swallow. As well as working to solve the dispute, the railway must get information about what is and isn’t running crystal clear so passengers can plan.

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