Northern franchise Direct Award – Passenger Focus submission to the Department for Transport

29 October 2013

The existing Northern franchise has run for a considerable time, during which there have been some highs, and a number of lows, from a passenger and stakeholder perspective.  

The Direct Award itself will run for a period of nearly two years and passengers will expect the franchise to do more than just marking time during this period.  It is imperative that the Direct Award builds customer trust and confidence.  It can only do this if it includes mechanisms to unlock investment, deliver real passenger benefits and provide firm foundations on which the next franchise can build.  

Passenger Focus has already published a detailed report of qualitative research undertaken in June 2012 with passengers using Northern and Trans Pennine Express .  The findings from this research are relevant for the period of the Direct Award.  The management summary and main findings are included as Appendix One and we urge that these are fully considered in development of the specification for the franchise operation to February 2016.  

An important hallmark of the Direct Award will be to make demonstrable progress on key issues during the two years preceding the new franchise, whilst also undertaking the relevant planning and preparatory work to optimise the opportunities to deliver significant early benefits in the new contract.

Northern Direct Award – issues for consideration.pdf
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