Franchising moving forward

10 April 2014

Franchising moving forward

A revised timetable for the franchising programme has been drawn up following the Brown review.  The Department for Transport (DfT) has also established a new organisational and project management structure.

Invitations to Tender (ITTs) were published last year for the Essex Thameside and the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchises and bids were submitted to the DfT in December.  An ITT for shortlisted bidders for the East Coast franchise was published in March 2014. 

Several Direct Awards extending the term of operation of existing operators have been announced. More agreements are in negotiation.

Transport Scotland published ITTs for the Caledonian Sleeper and the ScotRail franchise last year and the shortlisted bidders have been now been announced for Scotrail. The Welsh Government has recently responded to the recommendations of the Wales Enterprise and Business Committee on the next Wales and Borders rail franchise (due in 2018).

Passenger Focus input into franchising will include analysis of existing research and commissioning further research to provide good information about passengers’ aspirations for each franchise. We discuss our findings with the DfT and provide an initial written submission, we also provide this for proposed Direct Awards. We have a role in the consultation process to encourage passenger feedback and we provide and publish our own written consultation response to the DfT. We continue to liaise and discuss our research findings with prospective bidders and newly appointed franchisees to put encourage passenger focused policies.  

Below are links to other research and policy information that we use to put forward passenger views in the franchising process:

  NRPS                                                               Open data

 (National Rail Passenger survey reports)          (NRPS and complaints’ data search tool)

Passenger Focus Reports and publications relevant to franchising         

The Passenger Experience

April 2014

Passenger Focus and Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) research to understand how passengers plan rail journeys, purchase tickets, and use information

Passenger Assist

March 2014

Our research looks at the service provided to help disabled passengers book assistance and reservations on the national rail network

Passenger Focus  – open data tool

2013 data Passengers, stakeholders and bidders can use this to explore National Passenger Survey data and Passenger Focus complaint appeal data.

National Rail Passenger Survey  (NRPS) – introduction and reports

Autumn 2013 Our twice yearly survey provides a network-wide picture of passengers’ overall satisfaction and satisfaction with 30 specific aspects of rail travel.  Over 50,000 passengers a year give information and the data is compared over time

National Rail Passenger Survey  (NRPS) – Train operating company reports

Autumn 2013

Survey data for individual train operating companies is also available

Passenger Power – Giving passengers a voice in rail services

June 2013

Passenger Focus argues that passengers should be given a greater voice in rail franchising

Putting rail information in the public domain

June 2011

ORR  and Passenger Focus looked at what information is needed to help individuals make judgements about their train company’s performance. This is part of the government’s policy of making more data available for publicly funded industries

Reading Station Engineering Works: What Passengers Want

May 2011


With major engineering work planned at Reading Station over six years, this research looked at how passengers preferred planned disruption to be managed

Towards a ‘right-time’ East Anglian railway,

March 2010

Passenger Focus looked at the correlation between passengers’ overall satisfaction with train punctuality as measured by NRPS and actual train punctuality

Delays and Disruption: Rail passengers have their say,

November 2010

This research explored the views from a panel of 1,000 passengers who reported on actual disruption events. It followed previous research showed a high level of dissatisfaction with handling disruption

Passenger perceptions of personal security on the railways

2013 presentation to the British Transport Police

March 2009

Satisfaction with security on rail is still well below overall satisfaction levels. This report looks at the reasons for this

Smart ticketing – mobile applications

Smart ticketing – what rail passengers want

November 2013

July 2013

Research into smart ticketing – part of a programme of research in this field

Ticket to ride

May 2012

Passenger Focus reports concern that train companies revenue protection policy may include passengers who make an innocent mistake alongside those who deliberately set out to avoid paying.

Presenting ‘right-time’ information to passengers

May 2013

Passenger Focus worked with the Office of Rail Regulation and National Rail Enquiries to ask passengers how they wanted  to access data about how many minutes a train is late by. This is opposed to the Public Performance Measure (PPM)*, the percentage of trains that have arrived within five or 10 minutes.

Passenger Focus policy /consultation responses

Passenger Focus response to the Transport Select Committee’s Inquiry: effectiveness of legislation relating to transport for disabled people

June 2013

Response using evidence from our research to highlight issues of accessibility in transport

Passenger Focus – response to the government’s rail fares and ticketing review

July 2012

This response summarises our research and recommendations about fares, ticketing and value for money; and publishes additional research in this field.

The Rail Value for Money Study – A Passenger Perspective

1July 2011


Passenger Focus comments that efficiency and cost are important and have a direct impact on the range of service offered to passengers and the fares charged – but cost savings must also be set alongside the value of rail to the economy and the country as a whole

Review of rail franchising following the suspension of the Intercity West Coast Franchise

Passengers Focus  – Letter to the DfT  

November 2012

Passengers and rail franchise replacement – Letter to Steve Gooding, director general of domestic transport, at the DfT

Brown review of franchising – Passenger Focus response

December 2012

Passenger Focus calls for the debate to consider the passenger’s point of view

Brown review of franchising – letter to the secretary  of state

December 20012

We wrote to Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, following our submission to the Brown Review of franchising.

The Brown review of rail franchising

January 2013 Following the cancellation of the competition to run the InterCity West Coast franchise, this report makes recommendations for the future of the rail franchising programme.

Other Government department publications

Reforming our railways: putting the customer first (command paper DfT publication)

March 2012  This paper sets out the government’s vision for the railways and the policies needed to realise that vision.

High Level Output Specification 2012 (HLOS)

July 2012

Explains what the Secretary of State wants rail activities to achieve during railway control period 5, (April 2014 to March 2019).


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