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HomeUK NewsShambolic rail firm Avanti still gets millions in taxpayer cash despite axing...

Shambolic rail firm Avanti still gets millions in taxpayer cash despite axing two in three trains

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SHAMBOLIC rail operator Avanti still gets millions in taxpayer cash despite axing two in three trains.
The company could lose its franchise next year but is entitled to a £2million bonus.
Rail operator Avanti still gets millions in taxpayer cash despite axing two in three trains1Rail operator Avanti still gets millions in taxpayer cash despite axing two in three trainsCredit: AFPIt is part of £19.1million given to four operators owned by parent company FirstGroup.
Two thirds of the money paid to Avanti for the six months to September are performance fees, despite serious disruptions over the summer where just one in three trains ran between London, Manchester and Glasgow. 
Avanti is on a six-month contract, ending in April, with the Department of Transport.
The operator has reported a pre-tax profit of £16.5million and last year got paid nearly £17million in performance and management fees.
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Train companies get a fixed fee by taxpayers to run services. On top, they are contractually entitled to a bonus performance fee for anything above minimum service standards.
Avanti blamed disruptions on drivers refusing overtime and having to train new staff. Bosses hope to double trains from 180 a day to 264 in December.
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey has labelled Avanti’s performance a disgrace, adding: “It’s not just damaging lives because they have appalling delays, cancellations and poor journeys, it’s hampering the economy.”
Steve Montgomery, boss of FirstGroup’s First Rail arm, has promised a better service.

FirstGroup said: “There are significant challenges at present in parts of our rail operations — particularly in Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express.” A spokesman at the DfT said the company “must do more to deliver certainty of service to its passengers”.
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Story Credit: thesun.co.uk

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