MP warns rail operator: Improve or else
A SENIOR MP has warned the region's train operator One it could face the sack within six months if train services are not improved.Tim Yeo, Conservative MP for South Suffolk, told the EADT that he would give the rail company until the end of the year to get better or otherwise he would seek to have their contract terminated.
A SENIOR MP has warned the region's train operator One it could face the sack within six months if train services are not improved.
Tim Yeo, Conservative MP for South Suffolk, told the EADT that he would give the rail company until the end of the year to get better or otherwise he would seek to have their contract terminated.
He said that the service from East Anglia to London was very important for the economy of the area and that it deserved to be run by a company that could provide adequate management.
He added that, although timetable changes were now less of a concern, he was still receiving a number of complaints from constituents about failures of equipment, breakdown of trains and overcrowding.
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Mr Yeo said: "I continue to be very, very concerned about the performance of One. I have emails and letters from commuters every single working day about unsatisfactory experiences.
"I had a meeting with the chief executive last month and he did not convince me that they have got a firm grip on the situation.
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"The service from Ipswich through Manningtree to Colchester is very important to a large number of city commuters who have chosen to live in Suffolk.
"They work for some of the most successful and strategically important industries in the country and they are being let down."
Mr Yeo added that there was a precedent for sacking a rail operator, citing the case of Connex, which had served the South East and had its franchise terminated after failing to improve services.
"Any decision will probably be made by the Department of Transport and the argument will be that One has not satisfied the terms of the contract on which their franchise was granted therefore intervention is the only way to solve the problem," he added.
"I will now be monitoring the performance of One very closely. Giving them until the end of the year to improve is fair because they will have had the franchise for nearly two years and the new timetable will have been introduced for a year so they will have no excuse for not getting it right.
"It is in the interests of whole economy for the Ipswich to London line to be run by people who know how to do it."
A spokesperson for One said that while the company recognised that there were inconsistencies with service delivery, it was still meeting Government targets.
"The key fact is that we have been fulfilling our franchise commitments in terms of punctuality and investment," he added.
"In fact later this week we will be announcing £25m worth of improvements to upgrade the main line rolling stock of trains, so we are making progress in all the right areas.
"We know that we don't get it right all the time and recognise that we have got be become more consistent but we are moving forward.
"Unfortunately there are certain things such as infrastructure failure which are out of our control and we are working very hard with Network Rail and user groups to get results."