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1999-05-17 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator

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Rail Regulator changes licences to provide earlier timetable information


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Office of the Rail Regulator
ORR



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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator changes licences to provide earlier timetable information
_______________________________________________________________


date
17 May 1999
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/99/18


The Rail Regulator, Chris Bolt, has modified the licences of Railtrack and passenger train operators to require them to make available early information about changes to train times. This means that rail companies will now be under an enforceable obligation to make train timetable information available for any particular date at least twelve weeks in advance of that date (the T minus 12 commitment) and to make other information, such as fares and seat reservations, available shortly afterwards. This licence modification follows problems last Christmas, when parts of the train timetable for certain operators were not ready until almost two or three weeks before the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Commenting on the licence change, Chris Bolt said: "This measure is an important benefit for all rail users. Early and dependable timetable information is essential for passengers to make travel arrangements with confidence, and especially for the infrequent rail user whose business we are all working to win.

"In January I made it clear that I wanted to see licence changes to enforce delivery of earlier timetable information, and those changes have now been made. I will be monitoring compliance, and I will take action if rail companies do not meet their obligations."

Notes for editors:

1. The rail industry gave a commitment to make timetable information available twelve weeks in advance of any date of travel (the T minus 12 commitment), but problems have occurred with the delivery of this commitment. Following intervention by the Rail Regulator, the rail industry took urgent action to comply with the T-12 commitment, and is now largely compliant. Nevertheless, the Regulator published a consultation document in January 1999 seeking views on whether he should amend the operating licence of Railtrack and the train operators to make T-12 an enforceable licence commitment. There was overwhelming support for the Regulator’s proposals and the necessary consultation process, required under the Railways Act 1993 before bringing new licence provisions into force, was therefore undertaken. The statutory period for representations ended on 14 May 1999, and no adverse representations were received.

2. Under section 12 of the Railways Act 1993, the Regulator may modify the conditions of a licence if the licence holder consents to the modifications. Before making the modifications, the Regulator must publish a notice stating:

- that he proposes to make the modifications.

- the reasons why he proposes to make the modifications, and

- stating the period (not less than 28 days) within which representations

or objections with respect to the proposed modifications may be made.

In the absence of consent, the Regulator may refer the matter to the Competition Commission.

3. The licence modifications cover Railtrack, Heathrow Express, and all franchised passenger train operators (other than Island Line).



4. It should be noted that the new licence obligations do not prevent trains being planned at short notice for special events which could not have been predicted earlier (eg: football cup ties).



5. The text of the new licence conditions - see below - is available from Susan MacSwan at the ORR library, telephone 0171 282 2001, fax 0171 282 2045, e-mail orr@dial.pipex .com

SCHEDULE

(to replace the whole of existing Condition 7)

Condition 7: Timetabling

1. The licence holder shall provide Railtrack PLC with such information about licensed activities as may be reasonably necessary for Railtrack PLC to fulfill any obligation on it under the Timetable Condition.

2. The licence holder shall, in relation to the Timetable Condition:

(a) participate constructively in any consultation carried out by Railtrack PLC;

(b) notify the Rail Regulator of any material non-compliance by Railtrack PLC with its contractual or licence obligations in relation to the procedures referred to in paragraph 3 of the Timetable Condition which the licence holder considers is wilful or persistent; and

(c) use reasonable endeavours to resolve promptly any disputes arising under such procedures so as to prevent or minimise the risk of delay in providing access to the information in accordance with that paragraph 3.

3. The licence holder shall as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case not more than three weeks after receiving access to information under paragraph 3(b) of the Timetable Condition:

(a) provide to the persons referred to in sub-paragraphs 2(i), (ii) and (iii) of the Timetable Condition; and

(b) provide reasonable access to all timetable information providers on request

appropriate information to enable each on request to provide passengers or prospective passengers affected by such changes to the national timetable with all relevant information to plan their journeys including, so far as reasonably practicable, the fare or fares and any restrictions applicable to each service affected.

4. In this Condition:
"Timetable Condition" means Condition 8 (Timetabling) of the network Licence of Railtrack PLC (other than paragraph 5 of that Condition); and

"timetable information providers" means travel agents and other persons (including its own employees) or organisations towhom the licence holder normally provides information in respect of the national timetable (in either case a significant part of whose business is to communicate it to users and potential users of that information).

THE SCHEDULE

Condition 8: Timetabling

(additional paragraphs)

3. Subject to paragraph 5, the licence holder shall:

(a) plan its renewal, maintenance and enhancement of the network in a timely and efficient manner to enable it to specify its requirements for temporary changes to the national timetable (except in respect of changes arising from emergencies or severe weather conditions) so that the procedures to revise the national timetable in respect of such changes can be completed not less than 12 weeks prior to the date of any such change ; and

(b) provide access to information in accordance with paragraph 2 in relation to all such changes to the national timetable not less than 12 weeks prior to the date such changes are to have effect.

4. The licence holder shall:

(a) consult with train operators in carrying out such planning;

(b) notify the Rail Regulator if the licence holder considers that any non-compliance by a train operator with its contractual or licence obligations in relation to the procedures referred to in paragraph 3 is wilful or persistent and is likely to prevent it complying with paragraph 3(b); and

(c) use reasonable endeavours to resolve promptly any disputes arising under such procedures so as to prevent or minimise the risk of delay in providing access to the information in accordance with paragraph 3.

5. The licence holder shall not be in breach of its obligation under paragraph 3 to the extent that any delay in determining particular changes which are reasonable and appropriate occurs:

(a) wholly in consequence of a train operator's delay or failure to provide information reasonably required by thelicence holder to determine such changes provided always that the licence holder shall have taken all reasonable stepsto obtain that information; and

(b) the licence holder is and continues to be reasonably satisfied that, having regard to the interest of passengers inhaving timely and accurate information in respect of such changes, the delay will better satisfy those interests.

SCHEDULE

(to replace the whole of existing Condition 9)

Condition 9: Timetabling

1. The licence holder shall provide Railtrack PLC with such information about licensed activities as may be reasonably necessary for Railtrack PLC to fulfill any obligation on it under the Timetable Condition.

2. The licence holder shall, in relation to the Timetable Condition:

(a) participate constructively in any consultation carried out by Railtrack PLC;

(b) notify the Rail Regulator of any material non-compliance by Railtrack PLC with its contractual or licence obligations inrelation to the procedures referred to in paragraph 3 of the Timetable Condition which the licence holder considers is wilful or persistent; and

(c) use reasonable endeavours to resolve promptly any disputes arising under such procedures so as to prevent or minimise the risk of delay in providing access to the information in accordance with that paragraph 3.

3. The licence holder shall as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case not more than three weeks after receiving access to information under paragraph 3(b) of the Timetable Condition:

(a) provide to the persons referred to in sub-paragraphs 2(i), (ii) and (iii) of the Timetable Condition; and

(b) provide reasonable access to all timetable information providers on request

appropriate information to enable each on request to provide passengers or prospective passengers affected by such changes to the national timetable with all relevant information to plan their journeys including, so far as reasonably practicable, the fare or fares and any restrictions applicable to each service affected.

4. In this Condition:

"Timetable Condition" means Condition 8 (Timetabling) of the network Licence of Railtrack PLC (other than paragraph 5 of that Condition); and

"timetable information providers" means travel agents and other persons (including its own employees) or organisations to whom the licence holder normally provides information in respect of the national timetable (in either case a significant part of whose business is to communicate it to users and potential users of that information).


Railhub Archive ::: 1999-05-17 ORR-001





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