Lords discuss concerns over Avanti West Coast

Peers in the House of Lords have been expressing their concerns about the performance of Avanti West Coast (AWC) services.

Speaking during a House of Lords debate on July 4, former Labour transport spokesman Lord Snape expressed concern about Avanti West Coast’s current performance and asked the Government what plans it had when the route’s Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) comes to an end in October.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton agreed that Avanti’s current performance was “terrible” and confirmed that the Government was looking at potentially moving it (and allied organisations) onto a National Rail Contract. However, she made it clear there could be a delay.

“Will it happen in October? That is not certain at all,” she said.

Recent figures from the Office of Rail and Road put AWC performance behind services running on the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines between January and March 2022. Also, since Period 13 2020-21, its PPM MAA (Public Performance Measure Moving Annual Average) has fallen from a high of 89.6% of trains arriving on time to just 81.7% in the most recent period.

Baroness Vere suggested that AWC wasn’t the only train operator in “difficulties”.

Blaming an “uptick in COVID”, she said: “It is expected that this will be proactively mitigated. The DfT will actively manage this process through the Schedule 7.1 section in the franchise agreements, to make sure that we hold people to account, get performance data, and understand why things went wrong and what we can do to fix them.”

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  • Net Zero trains running - 20/07/2022 21:18

    Can't say I'm surprised. The railway always ran on overtime as it was cheaper than employing extra staff. Now Avanti have spent the last 2 years striping out staff wages, rosters and conditions, they are blaming covid for the recent difficulties and staff shortages. Never mind that they are running less train with largely the same workforce that Virgin operated back in 2019 but cancel numerous services even on a good day. In reality, its their cuts to the frontline in the name of profit and delivering "value" to the tax payer which have left us in this mess with a broken railway costing more in delay repay, alterative road transport and accommodation for stranded passengers. Its nothing short of a scam where this shambles of a company is costing the taxpayer many hundreds of thousands more, if not millions.

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  • Ian - 22/07/2022 08:25

    Avanti have ruined what Virgin had made an excellent service. Whichever fools in government chose Avanti to take over should be strung up and fired.

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  • Colin - 22/07/2022 10:14

    Bring back Virgin, First where always going to drag performance down! Saw this coming a mile away! Goes to show how government takes money over performance, virgin had one of the best ppm when they operated the WCML

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  • TJ - 23/07/2022 13:09

    2 journeys 18 July and 22 July 2022 disrupted by 1 to 3 hours. Avanti very slow at reacting to incidents. At the same time they increased fare prices. 1st class service food is poor compared to LNER in 2019.

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  • Steve Alston - 09/08/2022 02:08

    Shapps' ill thought out comments have exacerbated the situation. Both him and FirstBus t/a Avanti should be sacked for the direct impact on passengers their stupidity caused. A potato could do a better job than Shapps.

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