Following a further meeting with Avanti West Coast yesterday (Thursday 25 August), Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has issued the following statement:
"Avanti West Coast introduced its reduced timetable between Manchester and London to provide “greater certainty” to passengers.
"On that test alone, it has comprehensively failed.
"This week, I have witnessed chaos on trains and passengers in stressful situations as they arrive at seats that have been double-booked.
"I have heard reports of dangerous stampedes at London Euston as people clamour to get on the Manchester trains.
"And passengers are contacting me to complain that the Avanti website is slow to release tickets for sale and pushes people towards more expensive options like open returns or buying two singles.
"Even today, tickets for travel on Bank Holiday Monday have not been released.
"People pay sky-high prices to travel on Avanti West Coast trains and I made it crystal clear to the company when I met them yesterday that none of the above is good enough.
"The only thing that will bring greater certainty is the running of more trains and the restoration of the full Manchester to London timetable.
"I was expecting Avanti to present me with a plan at yesterday’s meeting for when trains will be re-introduced. It is disappointing to say the least that they were unable to do so.
"I have now asked for that plan by the end of next week at the very latest. If they fail to provide it, or if it fails to restore our full level of service within a reasonable timescale, I will ask the new Prime Minister to remove their contract.
"Having received the company’s response, I will make a further statement on Saturday 3rd September.
"In the meantime, I have asked Avanti West Coast to improve the provision of early information to passengers, particularly over this Bank Holiday weekend; release seats on trains earlier so people can book further in advance and address on-board maintenance issues such as leaking roofs and broken café facilities.
"Finally, I have made it clear that anyone who has been seriously inconvenienced by this mismanagement - or forced to pay over the odds to travel - should receive commensurate compensation from the company."
Article Published: 26/08/2022 15:51 PM