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2006-09-22 DfT-001
Department for Transport

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Department for Transport announces winner of South Western franchise


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Department for Transport

Department for Transport announces winner of South Western franchise
_______________________________________________________________


date
22 Sep 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT today announced that Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (Stagecoach Group plc) has been awarded the contract to run the South Western franchise from 04 February 2007.

The South Western franchise comprises services currently operated by South West Trains, including key commuter routes into London and the Island Line on the Isle of Wight. Both are currently operated by Stagecoach Group plc.

Capacity will be increased on both mainline and suburban services by around 20%. More rolling stock will be added to the fleet.

Smartcard technology will be rolled out across the franchise area by 2009. Fare structures will change to incentivise travel outside the busiest periods of peak time. The timetable that operates today will remain in place with few changes.

The franchise will provide £40m investment in enhancements at stations. Waterloo station and 13 other stations in the franchise area will be gated. Extra security measures, including more visible staff, will be brought in and significantly more passengers will be travelling through stations with Secure Stations accreditation.

Rail Minister Tom Harris said:

"This is a good deal for passengers and a good deal for the taxpayer. We want to build upon improvements in reliability and the major investment in rolling stock on the South Western franchise.

"Today's contract will mean that capacity will further increase and there will be more seats for many passengers on busy routes, with longer trains and extra services operating.

"Passengers across the franchise area are set to be the first outside London to benefit from smart ticketing. Travellers will also see improved performance and more security measures at stations."

Stagecoach has undertaken to pay DfT a premium of £1,191m NPV over the life of the franchise. The franchise has been awarded for 10 years, with the final three dependent on service performance achieving preset targets, including further performance improvements.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. The current operator of both South West Trains and the Island Line is Stagecoach Group plc. Both franchises are due to expire on 04 February 2007. The parties who submitted bids for South Western were Arriva Trains South West Limited (Arriva plc); First South Western Limited (FirstGroup plc); South Western Railway (50:50 venture between National Express Group plc and the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR)) and Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (Stagecoach Group plc)

2. Train Services and Timetable: The timetable will remain largely unchanged from today. Main improvements include:

* 2 trains per hour between Waterloo and Weymouth from December 2007 (currently one train an hour operates on this service)

* A new hourly service linking Salisbury, Romsey, Southampton and Southampton Airport Parkway (also serving Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford) in December 2007

* Services will run west of Exeter (to Plymouth and Paignton) as today, to be reviewed when the hourly Waterloo - Exeter service commences
* Additional late evening trains on the routes to Windsor, Reading and Hampton Court

* Additional Sunday services to Reading, Kingston, Dorking and Guildford

3. Smart Ticketing: Stagecoach will put in place a smart ticketing system across the franchise area that will accept existing Oyster products in London zones 1 - 6. This means that passengers on South Western services in London can use Oyster Pay as You Go products as well as newly available smart tickets.

4. Fares: There will be some changes to rail fares. New ticketing systems in place by January 2009 will mean that Stagecoach can offer flexible tickets to encourage passengers to travel outside of the very busiest times in the peak period. Further details will be announced by Stageocoach in due course, although it is expected that:

* Many regulated season tickets into London will be discounted for passengers travelling outside the height of peak times.

* Any increases will be consistent with Government fares policy. As today, train operating companies have the flexibility to make changes to unregulated fares.

5. Capacity: The franchisee is contracted to increase capacity. This will include:

* 21% more mainline peak seats by the end of the franchise and 20% increased capacity on peak time suburban trains

* An extra 10 vehicles to operate 10-car operation on peak time Windsor Line services

* Refurbishment of existing fleet to boost capacity

6. Stations: £40m will be spent on enhancements at 15 stations and public information and overall station environment improvements elsewhere in the franchise area.

7. Personal safety: Guards will be present on all trains. CCTV will be installed throughout the fleet of trains and at all stations. Additional plain clothes British Transport Police (BTP) officers will be present on the network. 95% of passengers across the franchise area will be travelling through stations with Secure Station Accreditation.

8. Performance: Stagecoach are contractualised to increase the passenger performance measure from the current level of 89.7% to 92.5% by 2009/10 and 93.3% by the end of the franchise

9. Priced Options: DfT will buy the following priced options in addition to the base case. These are:

* Bristol - Waterloo services will be retained throughout the franchise, operating as today

* A new hourly Waterloo - Exeter service will be operated on completion of a Network Rail funded infrastructure project

* Further increase in station security such that 95% of passengers across the franchise area will be travelling through stations with Secure Stations Accreditation



Railhub Archive ::: 2006-09-22 DfT-001





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