FAILING rail operator Avanti West Coast has been told it has just six months to improve services drastically.
It has been under fire since scrapping timetables due to staff shortages, causing chaos.
The company, which runs trains from London to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, was due to have its contract renewed next week.
Instead the Government put it on notice until April 2023 with a warning to raise its game.
Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “We have agreed a six-month extension to assess whether it is capable of running this crucial route to a standard passengers deserve and expect.”
Avanti axed timetables in August, blaming a lack of drivers, then cut the number of trains and suspended ticket sales.
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The company, owned by FirstGroup, insisted it had a robust plan to restore services.
But Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said the extension was “a reward for abject failure and a slap in the face for passengers”.
Manchester mayor Andy Burnham added: “The thought of another six months of what we’re experiencing is a huge concern.”
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