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Railhub Archive
1998-03-26 OPR-002
OPRAF

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Thames Trains passengers to benefit from Go-Ahead Group offer


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OPRAF

Thames Trains passengers to benefit from Go-Ahead Group offer
_______________________________________________________________


date
26 March 1998
source OPRAF
type Press release



The Franchising Director John O'Brien today gave his approval to the change in share ownership of Victory Railways Holdings Ltd, conditional on a range of benefits being provided for passengers on the company's Thames Trains franchise. This follows today's offer by The Go-Ahead Group PLC - already the majority share holder - to buy back the 34.8 per cent of the shares currently held by the management and employees of Thames Trains.

The improvements OPRAF has agreed with Go-Ahead include:

An additional £0.5million on improving station facilities - to include consideration of customer security, car parking and improved ticketing facilities. The Rail Users ' Consultative Committee and London Regional Passengers' Committee will be consulted on how the money should be spent.

Improved Passenger's Charter compensation: refunds to be paid to season ticket holders in the event of the compensation trigger being breached during the validity of the ticket, not just at time of renewal; for single journey ticket holders, refunds of 50% for delays of over 30 minutes on journeys of less than one hour, and for delays of over one hour on longer journeys.

A new through service between Oxford and Bristol calling at Swindon and Bath to be introduced by the la test in October 1998. Subject to securing paths from Railtrack, there will be at least eight trains in each direction on weekdays and Saturdays, and five on Sundays

Bus/rail through ticketing to be introduced from September 1998 - at a minimum of five locations, to be confirmed after local consultation.

Oxford station to be used as a pilot site for bike/rail integration in conjunction with DETR's Bikerail project and the National Cycling Forum. Measures to include linkage to the National Cycle Network, improved cycle parking arrangements including CCTV monitoring, cycle hire facilities and new signage for cycles. Following the pilot a
report will be delivered to the Franchising Director detailing proposals for bike/rail integration at major stations and committing at least £25,000 to improvements.

Improved interchange arrangements between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Airport from May 1999, including staff assistance, waiting arrangements and improved information. From May 2000 a dedicated.shuttle bus/coach service to be introduced between the station forecourt and the airport terminals.

The Up platform at South Greenford station to be reinstated by January 1999.

An Internet site to be introduced for Thames Trains from September 1998, including real time travel information and the facility to purchase tickets.

Changes of this nature require the approval of the Franchising Director. He makes his decisions in the light of the Objectives, Instructions and Guidance issued by the Secretary of State last November, which require him to put the interests of passengers first.

Mr O'Brien said today: "The Go-Ahead Group is already the majority shareholder in Victory Railways. I am satisfied that these added benefits are appropriate in the circumstances of this case, and that it would be in the best interests of Thames Trains passengers for me to allow Go-Ahead to become the 100% shareholder. OPRAF will therefore be working with Go-Ahead to finalise the legal arrangements that will give effect to these commitments and enable me to give my approval."

Notes to Editors
1. Once legal documents are completed they will be placed on the Franchising Director's public register.
2. The Thames Trains franchise was awarded to Victory Railways Holdings Ltd in September 1996 for a seven and a half year term. Today 's benefits are all additional to commitments made at the time as part of the franchise agreement.


Railhub Archive ::: 1998-03-26 OPR-002





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