South of Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Scotland has reiterated his call for First Group to be axed from running Transpennine Express rail services following the publication of figures which show the company one of the worst performing rail franchises in the UK.

Quarterly passenger rail performance figures released last week by the Office of Rail and Road reveal that Transpennine’s cancellation rate was the WORST in the country at 6.6 per cent for Q3 (October, November and December 2019), an increase of 0.2 per cent on the same period last year.

Punctuality was second worst in the country, with only 41 per cent of trains running on time.

South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “Time is up for Transpennine Express: this is the final straw. The UK Government needs to get a grip and axe this failing franchise.

“These new figures show the company is one of the worst performing rail franchises in the UK. In fact, the cancellation rate is the worst in the country. But sadly for those of us who regularly travel on Transpennine Express services from Lockerbie, this won’t come as a surprise.

“Cancellations when there are regular trains is one thing but at Lockerbie, where at some parts of the day there is a four-hour gap between trains to Edinburgh, a cancellation could mean the difference between getting to the capital on the same day or not.

“Commuters from Lockerbie station have been treated as second-class passengers for far too long.

“The delays and cancellations for the company’s Scottish routes are appalling and the recent fare hike of 37 per cent for some fares simply show this firms isn’t fit to run our trains.

“A slap on wrist by the UK Government isn’t going to be enough. For once the Government needs to stand up for passengers, not the big rail firms.

“It is time for the Government to axe First Group and remove the Transpennine Express franchise from them. The Government plan to end Northern’s rail franchise so why should Transpennine be treated any differently.”

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