TransPennine Express: Sheffield MP demands action on rail cancellation ‘fiasco’
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Shadow transport secretary and Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said that more than 100 services were cancelled this Tuesday and Wednesday alone on TransPennine Express, which runs services through Sheffield. She said that ministers have refused to act on the situation and signed off on the service cuts.
Louise Haigh urged ministers to intervene to demand an urgent binding plan to restore services, warning they have “refused to lift a finger to tackle the chaos”.
She said it was incredible that ministers rewarded TransPennine Express with more than £5m in taxpayers’ money in performance and management fees in 2020-21 – giving them the highest performance rating possible – despite being the third worst operator for delays and cancellations on the network and the biggest cut in services of any operator on the network.
TransPennine Express are set to be awarded a lucrative eight-year contract extension in May 2023.
Ms Haigh called on the new transport secretary Mark Harper to seek a binding plan from the operator for the full restoration of services and claw back taxpayers’ money for services that are not running.
‘Stand up for passengers’
If an urgent plan to restore services is not put in place, she has urged ministers to begin withdrawing the contract to ensure the long-term stability of the service.
Ms Haigh said: “This ongoing fiasco is causing real damage to the public, passengers and the economy.“It’s time for ministers to put the country first, stop washing their hands of responsibility and intervene.
“They should demand a binding plan from TransPennine Express for the urgent improvement of these vital services, claw back taxpayers’ money being handed over for trains that are no longer running, and if they cannot deliver begin withdrawing the contract.
“It’s utterly absurd that people across cannot rely on the train to get to work, and flies in the face of countless promises made by the Tories to connect our northern towns and cities.
“It’s time they stand up for passengers.”