CLLR WILL SANDRY AND CLLR SHAUN MCGALL - REPRESENTING OLDFIELD WARD IN THE HEART OF THE CITY OF BATH Weekly Advice Surgeries: First Saturday of the month, 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. In the foyer of the Co-op Scala, Shaftesbury Road, Oldfield Park. No appointments needed, just turn up and we'll try and help...

26 February 2008

Troubled train firm to spend £29m

Thanks to sustained presure from commuter groups, local councillors and councils, and MPs include our own Don Foster, First Great Western is to pay for more trains and better passenger compensation after poor service on lines to Wales and the West Country.

The Swindon-based train operator agreed the £29m investment package the Government issued a remedial notice against train company for breaching its franchise agreement. Extra drivers and guards will be recruited to resolve a staff shortage. Last month, the company came bottom of a passenger satisfaction league table and a Bristol rail user group staged a fare strike protest. FGW has announced that five extra 3-carriage trains will be leased for the troubled Cardiff to Portsmouth service. Compensation for delayed passengers next year will increase by half, on top of the doubling of compensation already announced for this year.
There will be extra discounted tickets available, better information systems and £4m will be spent on staff training.

Lib Dem Shadow Transport Secretary, Norman Baker MP said: “First Great Western services have been a disgrace in recent months and the Government is right to take action. The company can in fact think itself fortunate that it has not had its franchise removed entirely, particularly as it has now admitted to misreporting figures. The remedial plan which has been agreed with the Government represents a final warning for the company and any breach of this will qualify as a default and the contract will indeed be terminated. I welcome the passenger benefits included in this package, including the 500,000 extra cheap off-peak tickets, the extra rolling stock for the Portsmouth to Cardiff line, the refurbishment of Thames Valley commuter trains, and the provision of better passenger information. But the company must now deliver on these promised improvements. They have a last chance to get it right.”

Cllr McGall would like to thank all those local Oldfield Park commuters who have emailed him with the comments and stories about the poor service on the line servicing Oldfield Park Station. We need to keep up the pressure on FGW to ensure they keep their eye on the ball and offer commuters a service fit for the 21st century.

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