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Bristol MPs demand improvement from FGW

Two of Bristol’s Labour MPs have met with First Great Western management to demand an improvement to rail services in the South West region.  Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, and Dawn Primarolo, MP for Bristol South, met with Andrew Haines, new Managing Director of First Great Western, and Andrew Griffiths, Regional Manager, at Bristol Temple Meads Station.

Following the announcement last month that the Government had issued First Great Western with a remedial notice for unacceptable performance and misreporting of cancellations, the train operating company promised £29 million of investment and a raft of benefits to tackle areas of passenger concern.

Kerry and Dawn asked the Managing Director how the £29 million would be spent, and what improvements passengers would see as a result of this investment. First Great Western admitted that their performance has been unacceptable, and discussed plans to spend £4 million on customer service training, £6 million in compensation for passengers and £1 million on cheaper rail tickets.

Also under discussion were: the future of the Severn Beach Line, which will see a more frequent service from May; the shortages of rolling stock; and overcrowding on First Great Western services.

Kerry said: "Since First Great Western won the franchise in 2006 there has been an intolerable level of cancellations and disruption for passengers; under the terms of the remedial agreement the Government could terminate this franchise if standards fail to improve. Our message could not be clearer; this is the last chance saloon for First Great Western."

Dawn added: "I was pleased to have this opportunity to speak directly to the Managing Director of First Great Western.  I put across my concerns about recent overcrowding and excessive cancellations and am hopeful we will see an improvement in services in the near future."

 [12 March 2008]

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