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Cross Country (CrossCountry)

Cross Country

What is happening now?

The present Cross Country franchise, operated by Arriva UK Trains, is expected to end in December 2019. The public consultation is live and will close on 30th August. The Department for Transport (DfT) will also be inviting bidders to apply for the short-list for the competition. The next franchise is expected to be awarded from August 2019 to allow for preparations for the new operation.


The DfT previously awarded a new, short-term franchise to the existing operator (known as a direct award) in September 2016.

Our role in the franchising process

We are working closely with the DfT as they start to shape the competition for the new franchise. We have drafted a foreword for the prospectus, and will be engaging in discussions to place the passenger voice at the heart of the specification for the franchise. We will work with bidders to ensure that their plans are centred around the things that are important to passengers. We will present our passenger research at a series of consultation events during summer 2018 and will also respond to the consultation.

We were involved in discussions with the DfT as they negotiated the direct award with the current operator. We pressed for the outcomes for passengers we believe this contract should deliver, including promoting the benefits of targets for passenger satisfaction which were included in the agreement. We set out our proposals for the direct award outlining the high level issues we think should be considered.

Towards the end of 2015 we carried out research to explore passengers’ current experiences and aspirations for the future. A further study was conducted in early 2018 looking at passengers’ experiences of interchange and the reasons why some rail users and other travellers do not use CrossCountry.


To view our National Rail Passenger Survey reports or to access these and our appeal complaints data through our Data Explorer tool, please click on the links below:

NRPS                                                                Data Explorer

Transport Focus reports and publications
June 2018 CrossCountry additional passenger research
October 2017 CrossCountry passenger research
February 2016 CrossCountry franchise Direct Award – Transport Focus submission to the DfT

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