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2001-07-16 DTR-001
Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

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Concentrate on early gains for passengers Byers spells out new franchising policy


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Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

Concentrate on early gains for passengers Byers spells out new franchising policy
_______________________________________________________________


date
16 Jul 2001 00:00
source Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions
type Press release



The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) should concentrate on negotiating improvements for passengers within existing franchises and make the early replacement of franchises the exception rather than the rule said Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, today.

He outlined his priorities in a draft policy statement ''Passenger Rail Franchising'' and said he intends rail franchising to bring early gains for passengers. The statement builds on the draft directions and guidance issued a fortnight ago.

Stephen Byers, said:

''I want the Strategic Rail Authority to concentrate on improving services for passengers within existing franchises, or by negotiating short two year extensions. I am asking the SRA to take a fresh look at what can be achieved within existing franchises to drive up safety, punctuality and comfort across all franchised services.

''In particular I want to see improvements in existing franchises which include:

* New passenger performance targets; * Investment in additional services; * Improvements to rolling stock; * Improved passenger facilities.

''On commuter services the priority will be reductions in overcrowding and better reliability. This could include reliable extra new rolling stock, tougher performance targets, extra drivers, spare trains for emergency use and enhanced maintenance cover.

''On inter-city services I will be looking for improved punctuality, more capacity both through extra rolling stock and line upgrades, such as passing loops to allow the passing of slow trains.

''In all cases we want progressive improvements in safety and performance.

The two year extension awarded to Midland Mainline last year gives a clear example of the kind of benefits that the Government wants to see spread to other parts of the network.

This #240 million investment package for passengers included:

* #135 million investment in new rolling stock * #17 million investment in a new East Midlands Parkway station * Additional services to Leeds.

Mr Byers added:

''This new approach offers rail companies the opportunity to deliver the shorter term improvements that can make a real difference to passengers. We know that many opportunities to do so exist and I am sure that train companies will want to seize this chance.

''I still expect early replacement of short term franchises to go ahead in selected cases where the benefits cannot be obtained in other ways. But again, I will be looking for early gains for passengers that will make a real difference as well as substantial long term investment''.

In future the SRA will need the Secretary of State''s consent before seeking expressions of interest for a route and tenders will be invited against a clear specification so that bids are directly comparable.

Notes for Editors

The Franchise Policy Statement is a consultative document. It will not apply to replacement franchises for which the SRA has already invited best and final offers.

Press Enquiries: 020 7944 3066; out of hours: 020 7944 5925 / 5945; E-mail: press@dtlr.gov.uk Public Enquiries: 020 7944 3000 DTLR website - http://www.dtlr.gov.uk



EXAMPLES OF PASSENGER BEENFITS FROM THE FRANCHISE STATEMENT

Our aim is to deliver the following benefits. Not all of these will be necessary in any given franchise. Some of these benefits may be deliverable through existing franchises or extensions of them but others may require selective early replacement of a franchise.

* better punctuality and reliability e.g. tougher performance targets, extra drivers, spare trains for emergency use, enhanced maintenance cover, better arrangements for dealing with disrupted services;

* reductions in overcrowding e.g. extra rolling stock, additional services and longer trains;

* improved safety and personal security e.g. more CCTV at stations and on trains, secure parking, more accreditation under the Secure Stations initiative and extended staffing hours;

* integrated transport measures e.g. integrated public transport information systems; better and safer interchange at and access to stations by local public transport, by car, cycle and on foot; and new park and ride stations;

* improved accessibility for disabled people e.g. at stations and on trains;

* putting passengers first e.g. better compensation when things go wrong, no quibble refunds, and a greater voice for passengers in the level and standard of services;

* improved station facilities e.g. signage, information, waiting rooms, and ticket offices; and

* improved passenger information and retailing e.g. real time travel information and Internet ticket sales.




Railhub Archive ::: 2001-07-16 DTR-001





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