First Trenitalia wins the West Coast Partnership rail franchise competition
Following the Department for Transport announcement that First Trenitalia has been chosen to run the West Coast Partnership rail franchise, David Sidebottom, director of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:
“Passengers on the West Coast network told Transport Focus that their key priorities for improvement are improving value for money, getting a seat on the train and enjoying a more frequent, reliable and punctual services.
“Passengers also want to see a fare structure that is transparent and a simple, seamless ticketing process. Free WiFi, better luggage storage and increased staff visibility are also key priorities for passengers who will use the West Coast Partnership. It is good to see efforts to meet many of these key passenger aspirations at the heart of the new franchise with First Trenitalia.
“We also expect to see the promised improvements to delay repay meet the aspirations set out in the Transport Focus ‘Make Delay Pay’ campaign – with a clear commitment from the operator to ensure passengers are made aware of their right to claim and an easy, automated claims process.
“First Trenitalia has a real opportunity to shape the future and integrate the smooth running of HS2 with the West Coast Partnership. This is an exciting moment for passengers, with the promise of a new high-speed line that has state-of-the-art trains, more seats and faster journey times. However, the new operator must communicate effectively with passengers about the engineering work needed to build HS2 not least at Euston where works are already underway to deliver long term improvements that we know passengers want.”
“Transport Focus looks forward to working closely with First Trenitalia to ensure the needs of passengers feature strongly at the heart of the new operation and any major decisions about HS2.”
Queries: Contact Hannah Pearce Hannah.Pearce@transportfocus.org.uk or call the press office on 0300 123 2170
Notes for editors
In the latest Transport Focus National Rail Passenger Survey 91 per cent of West Coast passengers were satisfied overall with their service, with 62 per cent satisfied with value for money (on Virgin trains).
Transport Focus West Coast Partnership passenger research is available on the Transport Focus website along with and Introduction to Transport Focus’ HS2 Customer Community, an initiative managed by Transport Focus since 2014 for HS2 to ensure the full involvement of passengers in the design process for the new railway.