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Transport for Wales ‘best performing operator’ in Wales – First Minister

17 Apr 2024 3 minute read
L: Vaughan Gething – Image Ben Birchall. R: Image – TfW

Emily Price

The First Minister has been criticised for claiming Transport for Wales (TfW) is the “best performing operator” in Wales “by some distance”.

Vaughan Gething’s comments came during his debut in the Senedd on Tuesday (April 16) after being elected First Minister last month.

During Plenary, Labour MS Rhianon Passmore quizzed him on the planning permission timescale for Cardiff Parkway.

The major new railway station in St Mellons is due to open in 2024 but following changes to planning policy, the Welsh Government is looking at the plans again.

During his response, in which he said he would have no part in decisions around Cardiff Parkway, Mr Gething said it was “good news” that TfW is now the “best performing operator in Wales” compared to other providers.

He said: “When it comes to rail performance in Wales, there are Members in this Chamber who can take real credit for the sustained investment we’ve made to our rolling stock, the money we’ve had to put into improving the rails themselves.

“When we took control of the Valleys lines, we actually found a very distressed asset that required a large amount of capital expenditure. That has had real consequences for the whole Government.

“It is good news, though, that Transport for Wales is now the best performing operator in Wales when it comes to punctuality, when it comes to quality of the rolling stock. Compared to all other operators in Wales, Transport for Wales is the best performer by some distance.”

Strikes

Trains in Wales are mostly operated by TfW, however Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry Trains and Great Western Railway all operate to and from Wales.

Industrial action over the last year has seen all three long range operators disrupted.

In September last year, TfW was ranked the worst in the UK for customer satisfaction.

Punctuality, reliability, and service frequency were among the key areas where passengers said they were unhappy.

TfW was ranked in last place across all three categories.

The rail operator has suffered issues with its fleet of trains and its new rolling stock which has suffered delays in going into service.

Engineering work on the Valleys Lines out of Cardiff, in preparation for the South Wales Metro have also played a part in disrupting services.

Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Asghar said: “Considering TfW’s record I was astounded to hear the new First Minister stand up today for the first time in his new role and attempt to champion TfW’s punctuality in Wales.

“Just last year they came last in satisfaction levels out of all UK operators and clocked up a staggering one million minutes of delays.

“After sinking an extra £125m to bail out TfW, it is high time that commuters in Wales see significant improvement to the service which is currently not fit for purpose and receive a positive return on Labour’s investment of taxpayers’ money.”

We asked the Welsh Government which other rail operators Mr Gething was comparing to TfW.

We were provided with a grid that showed TfW performance data for March only compared to other UK Government franchise operators in Wales.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Whilst there is clearly room for improvement, TfW is making good progress and outperforming UK Government controlled train operators in Wales.”


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Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
1 month ago

This just shows how clueless our politicians are. Perhaps Mr Gethin should spend some of his ill gotten gains and travel on the Heart of Wales line which has an abysmal service now of only 5 through trains a day in each direction. TfW have just announced this is to be cut back to just 4 from the new timetable: which will be on average 4 to 5 hours apart. And as for timekeeping the figures for the last quarter of 2023 trains cancelled / late at my local station in Llandovery (taken daily from Network Rail’s public data feed)… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Bob McIntyre
karl
karl
1 month ago

Honestly you can’t get worse than TFW. Trains have become much worse under them.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  karl

Gething’s response ? – On yer bike then, mate. Or… what’s wrong with taking a long walk ?

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago

Labour – kings of spin.

Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago

Vaughan Gething should go in to comedy instead of politics.

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