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Railhub Archive
1998-03-31 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


New service opportunities for rail passengers

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Office of the Rail Regulator

New service opportunities for rail passengers

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New service opportunities for passengers: a policy statement (ORR, 1998)


31 March 1998
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/98/11

The Rail Regulator, JOHN SWIFT QC, has today published his latest policy statement on the degree to which the existing restrictions on new rail services should be relaxed. This will lead to train operators being able to introduce new services with effect from the winter timetable in September 1999. Commenting on the likely effects of the new policy, John Swift said:

"I am much encouraged by the positive responses from train operators and funding authorities and I expect this policy to lead to the introduction of new services such as airport links, services to new developments, to shopping and leisure centres, and park and ride sites, and cross regional services".

The policy is broadly consistent with the Regulator's original policy, published in 1994, which provided for a degree of exclusivity for train operators initially, in order to facilitate the franchising process, but with a firm prospect of greater opportunities for new services before the end of the initial franchises. The Regulator now believes that the time is right to implement the second stage of his policy because it will allow passengers to benefit from the new journey opportunities associated with the new services themselves, and from the additional incentives it will place upon existing operators to achieve and maintain greater benefits for passengers through improved services or lower fares.

The Policy reflects the results of the Regulator's consultation exercise of last year, the responses to which supported the proposal to allow the introduction of new services where it can be shown that those services will bring benefits to passengers without placing undue burden on the taxpayer. Those supporting the changes included the Franchising Director, the Central Rail Users Consultative Committee, the majority of Passenger Transport Executives and train operators, and a number of local authorities.

In reaching his conclusions, the Regulator has recognised the need for proper assessment of the likely impacts of individual new service proposals and continuing controls on anti-competitive behaviour which could disadvantage passengers through the loss of network benefits. He is satisfied that robust criteria and procedures can be put in place to prevent the emergence of "rail wars" and other activities that might not benefit passengers. The Regulator expects to publish the criteria that he will use for evaluating new service proposals and the standards for competitive behaviour to which he expects train operators to adhere, in due course.

Railhub Archive ::: 1998-03-31 ORR-001


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