German firm must be stripped of Metro contract, says South Shields MP
After holding talks with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones over the future of the delay-plagued service, South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has called for the rail network’s operator DB Regio to be stripped of its contract.
The Labour politician spoke out on a day in which Metro users faced yet more hold-ups after a technical fault led to trains being suspended between Pelaw and Brockley Whins for almost an hour.
This was due to a points failure on track maintained by Network Rail, which Nexus has stressed was therefore beyond the control of DB Regio.
Mrs Lewell-Buck wants an overhaul of the Metro system after receiving complaints from commuters.
DB Regio has run the Metro on behalf of owners Nexus since April 2010, with its contract next up for review in 2017 by the North East Combined Authority (NECA).
The Government had told Nexus it must put the operating of Metro out to tender if it wanted to unlock £300million to upgrade the system.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “It remains totally unacceptable no one is prepared to take responsibility for repeated Metro system failures.
“NECA and the Government have been aware of these issues for over a year yet have failed to make any attempts to remove DB Regio from their contract or increase the frequency and severity of fines to DB Regio.
“Nexus and NECA need to end DB Regio’s contract and increase fines to them in the interim.”
A Nexus spokesman said: “Combined Authority members have been clear with their concerns about Metro performance.
“They, last week, held managers from Network Rail and DB Regio to account in public and have asked Nexus to review the future of the operating concession.
“We are preparing options for them on this.”