Transport Minister, Sadiq Khan MP, has written to Michael Fabricant who told the Government, after Sunday cancellations of the London Midland train service, "If London-Midland cannot deliver the Sunday train service, give the contract to someone who can". The Minister has written back in detail and says: "The Department expects London Midland to plan its resources and work with trade union and staff representatives to ensure that the services we have specified are delivered, and this includes Sunday services."
In response, Michael Fabricant says: "I will continue to monitor the situation and if the reliability of Sunday and other services do not improve, I will insist that the train contract be revoked and given to an alternative train operator. The midlands deserve better than a second rate train service."
Sadiq Khan said in his letter to Michael Fabricant:
This matter has been discussed with the Managing Director and other senior directors of London Midland in order to understand the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the vast majority of services on Sunday 6 September. Given the seriousness of this situation, the senior team from London Midland met with Department for Transport officials on Monday 7 September.
It has been made very clear to London Midland that we expect them to run a full Sunday service. The franchise agreement we have with London Midland requires them to use reasonable endeavours to ensure they plan their resources in order to deliver the services we have specified. Sunday services are specified in the Service Level Commitment which forms part of the franchise agreement with London Midland.
We continue to assess London Midland’s ability to meet the terms of its franchise commitments. The franchise agreement includes a cancellations benchmark in which the operator is judged against a number of thresholds. The Department may under certain circumstances where these thresholds have been exceeded take enforcement action. Where an operator does not meet its contractual commitments, we follow the processes which are set out in the Enforcement Policy.
We are currently considering our next steps on this matter. Sunday working for the vast majority of London Midland’s drivers and conductors is optional. During the summer, London Midland made additional payments to drivers and conductors. This was a time limited agreement which ceased at the end of August. Following the extremely low level of volunteers on Sunday 6 September, London Midland has taken the decision to reinstate the additional payment to drivers and conductors until the early part of January
I write this to explain the background to the cancellations. However, I would like to make it clear that the Department expects London Midland to plan its resources and work with trade union and staff representatives to ensure that the services we have specified are delivered, and this includes Sunday services.