Rail industry bosses have come together in a deal to drive up standards for rail passengers in the West Midlands.
The areas the new West Midlands Grand Rail Collaboration will tackle include train service performance, simplifying fare structures, improving the quality of trains and stations, sharing busy track capacity in the most efficient way and delivering timetables to improve reliability.
The GRC brings together five train operating companies, Network Rail, the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), Vintage Trains, Transport Focus and the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education to put the focus on excellent customer service.
The partnership has been set up to make sure the industry works closer to passengers.
What did the officials say?
Mayor Andy Street, who is also the independent chair of GRC 2019-2020, said:
“Rail patronage in the West Midlands is growing faster than the rest of the UK and we are investing massively in the railways and delivering new stations.
“However we know problems still exist, particularly around punctuality and capacity, which is why I have launched the GRC so we can tackle these challenges effectively.
“Quite simply, this new collaboration is about putting the customer first – whether that is with reliable and dependable services that meet where and when people want to travel, or by creating stations that are modern, clean, and accessible to all.”
Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, managing director of West Midlands Trains, said:
“With travelling by rail more popular than ever, this vital collaboration enables us to work together across the industry to provide the West Midlands ‘travel to work area’ with a joined-up, easy to understand rail network.
“By coming together with partners in this unique way we can be more proactive and make a real impact as the West Midlands transport network continues to grow.”