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2006-03-31 DfT-001
Department for Transport

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Smart ticketing moves a step closer


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Department for Transport



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Department for Transport

Smart ticketing moves a step closer
_______________________________________________________________


date
31 Mar 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



Rail passengers on the new South Western Franchise are set to be the first outside of London to benefit from smart ticketing.

Bidders for the new franchise will be asked to set out how a new smart ticketing system could be introduced across the mainline franchise area from 2009 onwards.

The operator of the new franchise will have to ensure the new system also accepts existing Oyster products in London zones 1 - 6. This will ensure that future passengers can use Oyster Pay as You Go products as well as the newly available smart tickets.

In advance of this introduction a zonal fares structure will be introduced for single and return fares across the Capital's rail network.

The details are contained within the Invitation to Tender that has been issued to bidders for the new Franchise. It covers services currently operated by South West Trains and the Island Line on the Isle of Wight - both currently operated by Stagecoach plc.

The ITT specifies the minimum level of service the Department will require from the new operator. Bidders will be asked to show how they will meet the requirements it sets out and how they will ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

It details the minimum number of services the Government will require the operator to provide. This is based on the current timetable that has led to a marked improvement in performance. Only minor changes are suggested.

The specification will require bidders to address current and anticipated passenger growth and ensure that performance continues to improve. In particular they will have to set out how security at stations and on the trains can be improved where necessary.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said:

"As technology advances it is vital that we ensure that future passengers benefit from the improvements it can bring.

"Passengers on these routes will benefit from smart integrated ticketing across the franchise area - we will be working with train operators to ensure similar benefits can be introduced for passengers elsewhere.

"This is just one improvement the new operator of the South Western Franchise will be required to introduce. Additional capacity, safer stations and better pricing structures will all lead to a better service to passengers."

There are four bidders for the South Western franchise; Arriva Trains South West Limited (Arriva plc); First South Western Limited (FIrstGroup plc); Great South Western Railway Company Limited (a joint venture between GNER Holdings Limited and MTR Corporation Limited of Hong Kong) and Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (Stagecoach Group plc).

The franchise will become operational on 4th February 2007 and will run for up to 10 years, the final three years being dependent on performance. The winner will be announced in Autumn 2006.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. Travelcards on Oyster are already accepted by London train operators.

2. The ITT is a commercially confidential document but further details on the specification and a synopsis of consultation responses are included in a stakeholder briefing document on the DfT website.

3. Changes to the timetable will include:

a. Services from London to Weymouth and London to Poole will be increased and faster journey times will be possible between London and Weymouth.

b. Chanders Ford station continues to be connected to mainline services through the creation of a new service from Salisbury to Romsey via Southampton and Southampton Airport Parkway.

c. Two services west of Exeter to/from each of Paignton and Plymouth will be withdrawn as these services are duplicated - alternative arrangements will be put in place.

d. Bidders are asked to price the cost of two direct trains per day between Bristol and Waterloo via Salisbury. New stopping patterns will ensure intermediate stations continue to be served on a regular basis.

e. The Reading to Brighton service will be withdrawn because of low passenger demand for a direct service. Intermediate stations will continue to be served with new services.

f. Bidders are also asked to provide an indicative proposal for the introduction of the proposed 'Airtrack' service that could link Heathrow with Reading, Guildford and Waterloo.

4. Timetable changes will commence in December 2007. The successful bidder is also able to add additional commercial services if there is capacity on the track

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk



Railhub Archive ::: 2006-03-31 DfT-001





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