The Government has confirmed the continuation of the London Midland franchise from November 2013 until September 2015, following agreement on a package of benefits for London Midland passengers.
- over 100,000 free tickets (click for details)
Every London Midland season ticket holder will receive 5 free tickets to travel anywhere on the London Midland network
- an extra 500,000 cheap tickets
500,000 more Advance fare tickets will be made available the London to Crewe, London to Birmingham and Birmingham to Liverpool routes
- over £2m on improvements
A programme of information, safety and performance enhancements will help to improve customers' travel experience, particularly in the West Midlands
The package was proposed by London Midland in recognition of its disappointing performance during the autumn, when an unpredicted (and unprecedented) increase in staff turnover led to a temporary shortfall in qualified drivers.
Although we worked hard to ensure the shortage was addressed and resolved as quickly as possible, we recognise that recent disruption has been unacceptable to passengers. It is also not what we expect of ourselves and we are sorry for letting you down.
From the onset of this issue we ensured that the Department for Transport was kept up-to-date with our operational performance and have since been working closely with them to create a passenger-focused plan which will offer real customer benefits. This is in addition to improved processes, planning and partnerships which will help deliver better punctuality across our network.
The government has concluded that we are we are best placed to deliver these measures, and has recognised this by extending our Franchise until September 2015.
What have we achieved so far?
Since taking on the franchise in 2007 we have made significant improvements across our network. These have included:
- The introduction of 64 new trains worth over £300m, including the largest ever order of Midlands-built class 172s (for the Snow Hill line) and 37 class 350 Desiros for the Euston line. London Midland now has the youngest train fleet of its size in the UK.
- £11.5 million in station improvements including the installation of real-time customer information systems and help points at almost every station on the London Midland network, together with improved wayfinding signage.
- Major timetable improvements across the network, including the launch of 3 trains per hour between Birmingham and London, a trebling of the Northampton to London daytime service, a doubling of the Birmingham to Liverpool frequency and the introduction - and subsequent improvement - of a brand new service between Crewe and London via the Trent Valley. Sunday services have also been enhanced, with more trains than ever before between the Trent Valley and London, and between Worcester and Birmingham.
- Innovative projects to increase capacity and improve journey times, including the upgrading of our class 350 trains to travel at 110mph, and the fitting of automatic passenger counting equipment to key fleets.
- Providing thousands of extra seats at key times through timetable alterations and additional trains, peak and off peak, both in the Midlands and to/from London Euston.
- The introduction of an innovative new 'railcar' - the Parry People Mover - to run a 10 minute frequency service between Stourbridge Junction-Stourbridge Town together with a brand new Sunday timetable.
- Cheaper leisure travel for hundreds of thousands of passengers with the introduction of new Super Off-Peak and Advance purchase tickets on longer distance routes to/from London.
- A revolution in train company marketing with more discount offers to more people than any other train operator including the Great Escape (Go anywhere for £15) and Rail Sale (up to 50% off) promotions.
- Introducing smartcard ticketing to the West Midlands - the first non-London based operator to do so.
- The transformation of the way people obtain information through help points, real time information systems, an enhanced website, real time email alerts and the award winning @londonmidland Twitter account.
Together these results have seen London Midland's passenger satisfaction grow significantly since 2007. National Passenger Survey overall satisfaction has increased by 6%, Value for Money by 8%, Handling Delay by 18%, Train Cleanliness by 14% and Onboard Information by 15%.
Each free ticket will offer passengers 1 day's unlimited peak and off-peak travel on London Midland trains. This can be used as an extension to an existing season ticket or as a means of exploring further afield making the 5 free tickets worth up to £500. Passengers unable to make use of the tickets themselves (they will be valid until April 2014) can give them to a friend or relative if they wish.
Everyone who has travelled with London Midland over the past few months with an nNetwork, nTrain, Season Ticket Travelcard or point-to-point season ticket (for 7 days or more) will be eligible for free tickets.
For more details, please see here.