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1999-03-09 OPR-001
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Passengers benefit in Chiltern Railway deal


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OPRAF

Passengers benefit in Chiltern Railway deal
_______________________________________________________________


date
9 March 1999
source OPRAF
type Press release



Franchising Director John O'Brien has today given his approval to the change of shareholding in M40 Trains, conditional on the provision of a package of benefits for passengers on the company's Chiltern Railway franchise.

John Laing Group can now inc rease their shareholding to 84%, in a deal which has secured the following passenger benefits, worth around £1.5 million in total:

Performance
A new punctuality regime covering all trains. This will penalise Chiltern for trains that are 20 to 30 minutes late (£200), more than 30 minutes late (£250), part cancelled (£250) or cancelled (£300). Chiltern will have a benchmark allowance of £30,000 per period, and will pay the difference for each period when the total exceeds the benchmark. This will operate in addition to the existing OPRAF incentive regime.

Integrated transport
Free local bus travel on certain operators in both the High Wycombe and Aylesbury areas for holders of monthly and longer rail season tickets.
Two year trial of new bus link between Chinnor and Princes Risborough.
Through ticketing to and from the new Midland Metro stations and London Marylebone.

Free car parking at two stations when three or more customers arrive in the same car.

Reduced off-peak travel for groups of three or four adults, with £1 child add-on available.

Study into doubling of remaining single track section north of Bicester.

Security
CCTV at 17 stations, and trial of 24 hour car park security at one.
Staff to give railway safety talks at schools.

Station investment
Waiting rooms to be refurbished at two stations.
Customer information systems at three stations.
Secure bicycle storage at two stations.

Customer Care
Allocated priority seating for people with disabilities on all trains.
Customer care policy and rapid response teams in the event of severe disruption.
Greater voice for passengers: quarterly reports, annual 'meet the manager' sessions at each Chiltern staffed station, passenger forum every six months and the establishment of a new passenger group for Aylesbury - Amersham - London route

New methods of undertaking passenger counts to be investigated.

Policy for prompt removal of graffiti.

Access guide for people with disabilities.

In return for the stringent punctuality performance regime being introduced, OPRAF have agreed to revise Chiltern's call-in limit for part cancellations from 1.25% to 1.7%, a figure which has been calculated on a consistent basis with other operators' limits. It will still be the tightest limit in the industry. The limit for full cancellations will remain at 1%. OPRAF has also agreed to re-base Chiltern's enforcement record, so that they will now be treated as having one call-in extant.
Announcing the deal, Mr O'Brien said today:
"Laing already have a stake in M40 Trains and, with the package of benefits announced today, I am satisfied that it is in the best interests of Chiltern Railway's passengers to allow them to increase it. The deal includes strong incentives to improve perfo rmance, moves towards integrated transport, and a greater voice for passengers - all very much in line with OPRAF 's, and the Government's, aspirations. In negotiating this package, I have consulted the London Regional Passengers Committee, the Midlands Rail Users ' Consultative Committee, and Centro Passenger Transport Executive, all of whom have given a positive response. "

Notes to Editors
1. The Chiltern Railway franchise was awarded to M40 Trains - a management buy out group with backing from 3i and John Laing - and runs for seven years from July 1996.
2. The change of control is also subject to the approval of the Office of Fair Trading and the Office of the Rail Regulator.
3. Once completed, the legal documents will be placed on the Franchising Director's public register.


Railhub Archive ::: 1999-03-09 OPR-001





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