Leader backs Transport for the North call on Avanti

Published Wednesday 20 March 2024 at 12:10

Leader of the Council, Councillor Phil Riley, has backed Transport for the North’s call to bring back Avanti West Coast services back into public control.

Today’s (Wednesday 20 March) TfN Board, held in Leeds, officially passed a motion to write to the Secretary of State asking for the firm to be taken off the key West Coast Main Line route “at the earliest possible opportunity.”

It comes after a report to the board that stated, “a continuation of the current situation is unacceptable to the North.” 

Councillor Riley said:

I, along with fellow leaders across the North who sit on the TfN Board, were surprised when Avanti were awarded a long term contract by the government in October 2023. Since then, there has been no real improvement in services and, in fact, in 2024, service performance has, if anything, declined. The view of the TfN membership meeting today is that the travelling public have suffered poor quality service for too long and we have therefore given our statutory advice to the Secretary of State that the contract should be ended and the Operator of Last Resort should be appointed to start the long awaited process of service improvement.

In December, TfN wrote to the Transport Secretary asking him to instruct officials to conduct a critical review into Avanti West Coast’s operation given the deteriorating service, after the operator announced a number of cuts to services over the busy Christmas period. 

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