Transport User Voice – December 2016 – You and your train company

29 November 2016

We attended the Department for Transport’s (DfT) East Midlands bidders’ day in Nottingham on 16 November, where we presented our research on passengers’ current experiences and priorities for the new East Midlands franchise.

The prospectus for the franchise competition was launched at the bidders’ day. The public consultation will begin in December, and there will be a series of consultation events held around the region. We will provide further details about the events as soon as they are available.

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the franchise will be issued in May 2017 and the winning bidder is due to be announced in March 2018. The new franchise will start in July 2018.

West Coast Partnership

The Government has announced that a new franchise will combine the current InterCity West Coast services with the development and introduction of High Speed Two services. The franchise will be known as the West Coast Partnership, and will be responsible for services on both the West Coast main line from 2019 and designing, then running, the initial high speed services from 2026.

Passengers now and in the future will welcome a co-ordinated approach to delivering services running up the west coast as the new line opens up more capacity. With a franchise of this size, it is even more critical that passengers are kept at the very heart of it, and that their satisfaction is built into delivery targets.

Less competition could too easily lead to premium pricing so passenger protection will have to be a priority. We will now be working with all bidders to share our detailed work on what current West Coast and future HS2 passengers want.

Following the end of the current franchise in 2018 a new short term contract of approximately 12 months will allow for the continuation of services on the West Coast Mainline.

South Eastern

The South Eastern franchise, currently run by Govia, is up for renewal in June 2018. We are carrying out research to understand what passengers want from a new franchise in the South East.

We have been holding a series of focus groups across the South Eastern network throughout November and we will publish a report next year. The research will help inform our discussions with the DfT and bidders, and help to shape their proposals for the new franchise.

We expect a public consultation and the ITT to be issued in 2017.

West Midlands

In December we will be reviewing the customer experience elements of bids for the new West Midlands rail franchise. We will produce a specialist report on each bid, used to help the DfT and West Midlands Rail review the bids.

The DfT is expecting to announce the successful bidder in June 2017, with the new operator taking over the franchise in October 2017.

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