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Railhub Archive
2015-03-20 FIR-001


Statement re: First Transpennine Express

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Statement re: First Transpennine Express

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20 March 2015
source FirstGroup
type Press release

FirstGroup, the leading transport operator in the UK and North America, has signed an agreement with the Department for Transport to operate the First TransPennine Express rail franchise for a further year.

This deal means that the First TransPennine Express franchise will operate beyond its current end date of 31 March 2015 to 1 April 2016. This date is coterminous with the Government s anticipated start for the new TransPennine Express franchise. The Group is shortlisted and looks forward to submitting a bid later in the year to deliver significant improvements for customers and value for money for taxpayers.

Today s award secures continuity of rail services for passengers over the next year and during this period First TransPennine Express will continue to progress areas which passengers have identified as important such as the installation of free Wi-Fi to key stations across the route and an enhanced programme of customer service training.

Commenting, Tim O'Toole, Chief Executive said:

"We have an excellent track record at First TransPennine Express, which provides vital connections between key cities in the North of England and Scotland. Since the franchise began, our experienced team have worked hard to introduce brand new trains, refurbished stations, increased frequency and improved journey times. As a result the service is more popular than ever, now carrying 26m passengers a year compared to 13m in 2004. Today's agreement with the Department for Transport provides continuity and consistency for First TransPennine Express passengers over the next year, as we focus on continuing to deliver great customer service and introducing improvements ahead of submitting our bid for the new franchise later in the Spring.

Notes to editors
· First TransPennine Express commenced operation in 2004 and operates on three main routes across the North of England, providing inter-city services between the North West, Yorkshire and the north east of England and into Scotland.
· Capital investment since 2004: Investment in new trains £310m. Investment in stations £20m. Total: £330m.
· From just after taking over the franchise in April 2004 to the latest figures, punctuality has increased by more than 15% to 90.3% (P11 2014/15).
· Passenger journeys have doubled from 13m to 26m since 2004 driven by service and timetable innovation, improved yield management, customer service excellence and marketing including groundbreaking social media and mobile apps. In turn, we have cut taxpayer subsidy as a proportion of passenger revenue by 80% as a result and will cut it further with the direct award.
· A brand new fleet was introduced in 2006 with 51 3-car Class 185 trains, and the fleet was expanded further in 2014, with a new electric fleet and timetable, which was enabled by the Government s Northern Hub electrification project. These new longer carriages were all in service on the Manchester-Scotland route by mid-2014, providing an improved timetable and in turn freeing up carriages to increase capacity on the popular Manchester-Leeds route.
· First train operator in the country to achieve five star EFQM accreditation and won the BQF Excellence Award in 2014  the first rail company ever to receive this.
· Named European InterCity Operator of the Year at the European Rail Congress in November 2013 and 2012 Rail Business Awards Train Operator of the Year.
· Investors in People Gold status achieved in 2015.
· The franchise is a joint venture between FirstGroup (55%) and Keolis (45%).

FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America. With revenues of more than £6.7 billion in 2013/14 and around 110,000 employees, we transported around 2.5 billion passengers last year. Each of our five divisions is a leader in its field: First Student is the largest provider of student transportation in North America with a fleet of around 49,000 yellow school buses, First Transit is one of the largest providers of outsourced transit management and contracting services in the US, while Greyhound is the only national operator of scheduled intercity coach services across North America. In the UK, FirstGroup is one of Britain's largest bus operators running a fleet of some 6,400 buses, and we are one of the largest operators of passenger rail services in the UK, carrying more than 330 million passengers last year, with experience of running all types of rail network.

Our vision is to provide solutions for an increasingly congested world... keeping people moving and communities prospering.

Contacts at FirstGroup:
Rachael Borthwick, Group Corporate Communications Director
Faisal Tabbah, Group Investor Relations Manager
Stuart Butchers, Group Head of Media
Tel: +44 20 7725 3354

Contacts at Brunswick PR:
Michael Harrison / Andrew Porter, Tel: +44 20 7404 5959

Stuart Butchers
Group Head of Media
Office : 020 7291 0507 50 Eastbourne Terrace, London W2 6LG
Mobile : 07713 317979

FirstGroup plc, registered in Scotland number 157176
Registered office : 395 King Street, Aberdeen AB24 5RP

Railhub Archive ::: 2015-03-20 FIR-001


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