(Bloomberg) -- The UK government has decided to extend the franchise for Britain’s biggest inter-city train operator, Avanti West Coast, by an additional six months after recent service improvements.

The extension comes after the operator added 40% more services and reduced cancellations from 25% of its services in August to 4.2% in early March, the Department for Transport said in a statement Monday. The DfT said that over 90% of Avanti’s trains were arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival times. 

Avanti came under fire from lawmakers in December following a months-long meltdown of services amid a driver shortage. Some 60% of Avanti trains were delayed in the third quarter, according to the UK government’s Office of Rail and Road, shattering reliability on Britain’s premier rail route linking London with Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Scotland. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said that following the government’s intervention in the operations of the franchise owned by FirstGroup Plc and Trenitalia of Italy, the new plan implemented was showing improvements. 

“However, there is still more work to be done to bring services up to the standards we expect, which is why over this next six months further improvements will need to be made by Avanti West Coast,” Harper said.