Transport User Voice – You and your train company

30 June 2017

West Coast Partnership

The Government has announced a shortlist of three bidders to compete to run the new West Coast Partnership franchise. It will be responsible for services on the West Coast Main Line and will design and run the initial HS2 high speed services between London and Birmingham. The three are all joint ventures:

  • First Group and Trenitalia
  • MTR and Guangshen Railway Company
  • Stagecoach, Virgin and SNCF.

This is an important step towards setting up this significant new franchise which will also include future HS2 operations. It is critical that the passenger interest is kept at the heart of all plans as the franchise is specified and progresses. We will be working with bidders and the Government to ensure that this happens including building passenger satisfaction into the targets of what they deliver. We will also focus on the pricing of new HS2 and existing services, the handling of engineering work disruption and the layout of new trains.

South Eastern

A shortlist of four bidders has also been announced to compete to run the new South Eastern franchise, which is due to start in December 2018. They are:

  • Abellio (joint venture between Abellio and the consortium of East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui)
  • Govia
  • Stagecoach
  • Trenitalia.

The South Eastern franchise network is one of the largest and busiest in the country. Passengers on this network have told us they want a more punctual and reliable service with more space to sit and stand. They want to be treated well when things go wrong. With the bidders confirmed, Transport Focus will be working with them and the Government to keep passengers’ expectations firmly at the centre of the new plans.

We responded to the DfT’s consultation on the next franchise. Our response is based on our insight into what passengers want, including our focus group research among current Southeastern passengers, which we published in April. The key priorities for improvement are:

  • punctuality and reliability
  • minimise and effectively manage disruptions
  • capacity
  • information
  • value for money.

As part of the consultation process, we have been presenting our insight into Southeastern passengers’ experiences and aspirations for new franchise at a number of public events. We welcomed the extension of the consultation period to allow those events that were cancelled due to the general election to happen. The consultation document can be found here.

Great Western and Cross Country

The DfT is just starting the process of re-letting the Great Western and Cross Country rail franchises. We are speaking with DfT, highlighting our insight, to ensure that passengers are at the heart of the franchise specifications, and will engage with potential bidders to emphasise passengers’ priorities for improvement. The new Great Western franchise is expected to start in 2020, and the new Cross Country franchise in late 2019.

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