Avanti cancels 17% of trains since new timetable

Avanti cancels 17% of trains since new timetable

22 February 2023

RMT Press Office:

Rail union, RMT has revealed the vast majority of Avanti cancellations are down to staff shortages and called for the company to be stripped of its franchise today.

Updated Office for Rail and Road (ORR) data shows that Avanti West Coast has cancelled on average 17% of its planned trains since it brought in its new timetable on December 11th 2022.
These figures represent cancellations on non-strike days and so in no way can they be attributed to industrial action.
The ORR data show that 60% of cancellations are attributed to the responsibility of Avanti under the category ‘Train Fault’ but RMT data, collected from Avanti’s own internal communications show that since  December 11th the vast majority of these shortages are attributed by the company itself to shortages of staff.
This is in line with an RMT survey from December 2022 which showed that Avanti staff had no confidence that the new timetable could be delivered because the company was so short-staffed.
It also undermines claims made by the Rail Minister Huw Merriman, who told the House of Commons in December last year that Avanti’s new timetable would mark a new departure because henceforth its services would not be reliant on staff volunteering to work on their rest days.
Between 11 December and 8th January, Avanti cancelled 22% of their planned trains. Between 9th January and 5th February, they cancelled 12%, almost three times the average for Great Britain in the same period (4.4%).
Avanti are still running fewer trains than they did before August 2022 and cancelling nearly as many as they did before their reduced timetable was brought in (18%).
In October 2022, the government granted Avanti a temporary extension of their contract  until 1st April 2023.
But RMT alongside MPs and metro mayors have called for the company to be stripped of its franchise.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "This data shows that Avanti have done nothing to tackle the cause of their disastrous performance, running fewer trains than last year and still cancelling 17% of them, almost entirely due to their chronic short staffing. 
"This franchise run by Avanti cannot be rectified as they are incapable of real change.
"The public should be put out of their misery and the West Coast should now be placed within the publicly owned Operator of Last Resort.
"Ultimately there will be no solution to the problems on Britain’s railways until the whole model of rail privatisation is abolished in favour of direct public ownership."
Notes to editors:
On 15th December, Huw Merriman said:
“Avanti is now operating a seven trains per hour timetable amounting to 264 daily train services on weekdays, which is a significant step up from the 180 daily services previously offered during the last six-month period, and more than those offered before the cessation of drivers volunteering to work rest days. Importantly—this is the really important part—the services are not dependent on rest-day working. That is good for Avanti, because it allows the company to put a roster together seven days a week, and it is seemingly good for the 90% of drivers who decided over the summer that they did not wish to work beyond their contracted hours. This timetable change represents an opportunity to put in place a long-term timetable base and to return to the extended booking horizons that passengers rightly expect.”


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Tagged with: Avanti, RMT, Mick Lynch