Passenger Voice December 2015: You and your train company

30 November 2015

Northern and TransPennine Express

Following a consultation in 2014, shortlisted bidders for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises submitted their proposals in June and July 2015. Transport Focus helped assess of the customer experience elements of the bidders’ proposals. The DfT is expected to announce the award of these contracts before the end of 2015.

West coast franchise dates change

Key Department for Transport (DfT) rail franchise dates have now been changed. The West Coast franchise competition has been delayed from December to June 2016 with the new contract due to start in April 2018.

A new franchise schedule can be found here.

South Western – have your say

Passengers are invited to contribute their opinions and priorities for the next South Western rail franchise. The current contract, operated by South West Trains, is due to end in June 2017. The DfT will hold a competition to find an operator to run services from that date.

On 12 November the DfT opened a consultation into the future of rail services in the South West. The responses to this consultation, which runs until 9 February, will help the DfT decide what to ask bidders to propose for the next franchise. 

As part of the consultation there will also be a number of events for stakeholders to hear more about the plans and ask any questions. The events will be held in:

Guildford – 24 November

Basingstoke – 1 December

Salisbury – 8 December

Portsmouth – 9 December

Ryde, Isle of Wight – 15 December

London – 5 January.

For more information about these events please email:

Transport Focus will be submitting a response drawing on our research into passengers’ current experiences and their hopes for the future. As well as using our National Rail Passenger Survey we carried out focus group research with passengers of South West Trains.

CrossCountry passenger research

The Department for Transport (DfT) recently asked us to carry out passenger research ahead of the CrossCountry direct award. This is a short-term contract to operate services from October 2016 to October 2019.

We are holding focus groups with passengers of CrossCountry trains to understand their opinions on existing services and explore what they would like to see provided or improved in future.

West Midlands

The competition is due to begin soon for the West Midlands franchise. The DfT will be looking for an operator to run services, currently operated by London Midland, from October 2017.

There will be opportunities for passengers to contribute as the DfT plans to open a public consultation in December. Look out for details on the DfT’s rail franchising website.

East Anglia bids

In December bidders must submit their proposals to run rail services for the next East Anglia franchise, due to start in October 2016. The shortlisted bidders are:

  • Abellio East Anglia Limited (a joint venture between Abellio and Stagecoach)
  • First East Anglia Limited
  • National Express East Anglia Trains Limited.

Transport Focus will help assess bidders’ delivery plans for the new franchise. The DfT has asked us to review how the bids deliver on a range of important issues for passengers, including quality of customer service, information and the end-to-end journey experience.

The DfT will announce the winning bidder in summer 2016.


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