WEST Midlands Trains (WMT) has been told to get its act together, or face fines or even be stripped of the franchise altogether.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has given the company to the end of January to improve its services or he will demand the company, which runs services from Worcester to Birmingham, loses the franchise.

And that call has been echoed by city MP Robin Walker who said after a number of broken promises “everybody has run out of patience”.

The call for action is being made after customers suffered regular overcrowding, delays and cancellations to WMT services, and commuters say timetable changes have worsened the impact of disruption.

Mr Street said: “I have lost all faith in WMT’s ability to run our network. If not sorted by midnight 31/01/20, I will formally ask (the government) to strip WMT of the franchise. WMT have rejected a number of suggestions I made to improve services, yet I have no power to compel them. I’ve asked Department for Transport (Dft) to devolve control of rail to me (and my successors) as mayor.”

Mr Walker, who recently spoke with rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris about the issues, said: “I’m pleased to hear Andy’s comments - it has got to the stage we have exhausted all options. It cannot carry on.

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“There has been failure after failure to deal with the problems. The extra carriages at peak times never materialised. I have slightly given up going to the company - they make all sort of promises about how it will improve. Given there haven’t been the improvements, reliability has not improved, they should freeze their fares.”

Meanwhile West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin spoke to WMT’s managing director Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde to discuss the issues.

The MP said: “I’m afraid I have reached the end of my tether with WMT and I have demanded that management take urgent steps to dramatically improve both performance and capacity. I have raised the matter directly with the Dft and I have asked for guidance about what may trigger financial penalties owing to poor performance.

Mr Chaudhry-van der Velde said: “We recognise that the May timetable has not worked and apologise to all our passengers who have been affected.”

He explained that extra carriages and timetable changes were introduced last week to improve performance but the network was hit by incidents outside the firm’s control, such as track and signalling failures, trespass and anti-social behaviour.

He added that bringing forward the May 2020 timetable was discussed with Network Rail but deemed not possible due to “the impact on the wider rail industry”. Details of an additional compensation scheme for passengers are expected to be announced early next year.