Welwyn Hatfield MP calls for Govia to lose franchise

PUBLISHED: 09:24 25 January 2017

Paul Maynard and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps

Paul Maynard and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps


Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has been in talks with Trains Minister Paul Maynard and has called for Govia Thameslink to lose its franchise.

At a meeting in Parliament with Paul Maynard MP, the Trains Minister, Mr Shapps called for Govia Thameslink Railway to lose the franchise which serves the stations in Welwyn Hatfield.

Mr Shapps called for the meeting following long-standing problems with the performance of train services such as lack of drivers, signal failures, shortened carriages and severe delays and cancellations.

At the meeting, Mr Shapps also sought reassurances regarding the timetable of the roll out of the Oyster card in Welwyn Hatfield.

He was told that while it is a matter for Transport for London, there are currently no obvious reasons why the proposed date of 2018 cannot be met.

After meeting the minister Mr Shapps said: “Govia’s performance is just not up to scratch and shows no signs of improving. “That’s why I’ve called for them to lose the franchise as soon as possible.

“The people of Welwyn Hatfield deserve better than this so it’s about time the franchise is given to someone up to the job so that we can have a train service to rely on.

“I was also pleased to hear that the Oyster Card is still on track for 2018 but I’ll certainly do everything I can to make sure this doesn’t slip behind.”

A spokesperson for Govia Great Northern said: “We care very much about giving our passengers the service they deserve and accept that performance has not been good enough. However, we are beginning to make improvements.

“After a decline during the poor and slippery weather conditions of autumn, punctuality this year has risen.

“We also have fewer cancellations now caused by the driver vacancy gap and we are pressing ahead with our recruitment and training programme - the biggest in the UK - to further address this.

“We are replacing 75% of the fleet with £1bn of new rolling stock and the first modern air-conditioned trains are already in service.

“And from 2018, passengers at Welwyn and Hatfield will have new direct cross-London trains to London Bridge and beyond.”

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