London to Manchester train operator Avanti has begged ministers to relieve it from performance target deadlines, after struggling with driver shortages.
The ailing operator has asked the Department for Transport to greenlight a “force majeure” declaration on its West Coast line, according to The Sunday Times.
This would mean Avanti would not have to hit targets and make it easier to dodge penalties for delayed trains.
An Avanti spokesperson said the firm didn’t comment on “any discussions we might be having with the government.”
Avanti slashed its schedule on the route this summer after drivers refused to work overtime.
In standard cases, “force majeure” clauses are used when a train operator cannot control the factors preventing it from fulfilling its services, such as disruptive weather conditions.
The train service has pledged to fortify its schedule in December after almost 100 new train drivers finish their training.
It also revealed an initial boost to its schedule last week.