COMMUTERS using trains through Rowley Regis have complained about being "packed in like sardines" with no social distancing.

People using the West Midlands Trains service from Stourbridge, through Rowley Regis and into Birmingham Snow Hill, say it is not safe.

They say people are also refusing to wear face masks, which is making them even more concerned about the lack of social distancing.

Liz Moore tweeted this morning about the issue stating: "So as we leave Rowley Regis the train is packed once again and there is still several stops before snow hill. @andy4wm this service is not covid safe.

"How are they allowed to run like this at the moment?"

Commuter Toni Bird, who travels from Stourbridge to Rowley Regis, took the above picture of people crammed into a train, forced to stand as there were no seats free to allow for social distancing.

She also took the picture below of people crowded onto the station platform at Stourbridge Junction at 4.30pm one afternoon.

Stourbridge News:

She said she is concerned about the blatant lack of social distancing on trains and doesn't feel safe.

The 32-year-old, from Stourbridge, who is admin manager for a Rowley Regis firm and can't work from home, said: "When the government told the public to go back to school and work (before the announcement on the 22nd to work from home again) the trains didn't know what hit them.

"Lack of staff and cancellations caused the trains to become overcrowded and it is near impossible to social distance when you are all packed like sardines.

"Not to mention people who flat out refuse to wear masks.

"Sometimes there are four trains cancelled in a row."

A spokesman for West Midlands Trains said: "We have had to run some reduced timetables on our Snow Hill line services since Monday September 14, due to the impact of COVID-19 on our workforce.

"Up to one in three colleagues have been impacted since the start of the pandemic and this has meant we have had to make some additional changes to services."

They went on: "We are continuing to monitor the number of people using our trains – and overall, we are still carrying less than 25 per cent of the number of people we were before COVID-19 restrictions.

"Passengers can monitor our loadings on social media, as we are using a traffic light system to report on the busiest trains on the network.

"We are aware that some trains are becoming busy with school children using services, and have put standby buses in place, should they be required.

"Passengers are reminded that they should be wearing a face covering at all times when in stations and on trains, unless they have an exemption.

"Reminders are clearly posted around stations, and announcements are being used.

"Our new timetable was introduced earlier this month, with capacity back up to 95 per cent of what it was before our COVID timetables.

"While there are fewer services operating on some routes, we have increased the number of carriages on services to maintain this capacity."

Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris said: "I understand that some rail passengers may have concerns over social distancing, but I know West Midlands Trains and other operators are doing what they can to operate as safely and efficiently as possible.

"As a Government we have set out guidance for travelling on public transport safely, and I am happy to work with service providers to ensure they have the resources they need to increase passenger confidence."