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2011-12-22 ORR-001
Office of Rail Regulation

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Plans to put passengers at the heart of rail regulation


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Office of Rail Regulation



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Office of Rail Regulation

Plans to put passengers at the heart of rail regulation
_______________________________________________________________


date
22 December 2011
source Office of Rail Regulation
type Press release

note ORR/28/11


Plans for the rail regulator to be given more powers to protect passengers’ interests were announced today in a joint consultation published by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

The consultation, ‘A greater role for ORR regulating passenger franchisees in England and Wales’, seeks views on the potential for an expanded role for ORR so that it can put passengers at the heart of regulation. Under the proposals, which would see the Government step back from rail regulation, new licence conditions would enable the independent rail regulator to ensure passenger complaints are handled properly as well as to take on responsibility for monitoring train performance and service standards.

The plans aim to simplify the landscape of regulation in England and Wales to make the rail industry more efficient, cost effective and transparent. The proposals build on the findings from Sir Roy McNulty’s ‘Rail Value for Money Study’, published in May, which concluded that significant changes are needed if the rail industry is to achieve its full potential. These include a move towards an integrated regulator for the whole rail industry to support closer working between different parts of the sector.

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said:

"We want to put passengers at the heart of how our railways are run and to do that we need a regulator that has the right tools to protect passengers’ interests. The proposals we are setting out today represent an important first step in this process.
“Today we are proposing new powers for the regulator as well as asking whether further changes are needed to allow it to function as an effective passenger champion.”
ORR Chair Anna Walker said:

“We welcome proposals for an expanded role for the rail regulator with greater powers to protect passengers’ interests. Strong, proportionate regulation is vital if passengers and funders are to get the service they rightly deserve.
“The proposed plans will enable ORR to play a greater role in achieving this goal, helping Network Rail and train operators to work together to put passengers’ needs first and achieve significant efficiency savings.”
The immediate package of reforms includes proposals that:

ORR should take on additional responsibilities for complaints procedures and Disabled Peoples’ Protection Policies (DPPPs), transferred from DfT.
ORR will be responsible for all aspects of approving, monitoring, and enforcing compliance with complaints procedures through station and passenger train licences.
ORR will be responsible for approving, monitoring and enforcing compliance with DPPPs through station and passenger train licences.
Additional long term proposals include:

Whether responsibility for monitoring and the enforcement of train punctuality and reliability should be transferred to ORR.
That the monitoring and enforcement of service quality standards and compensation agreed in the franchise, or committed to in the franchise bidding process, could be implemented by ORR via a licence rather than by the Government through a contractual mechanism.
The consultation closes on 2 March 2012.

Notes to editors
To read the full copy of the consultation, please see: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.10746
ORR is the independent economic and safety regulator for the railways and regulates both Network Rail and train operating companies (TOCs) through the licensing system and through competition and consumer law. Its remit covers key areas such as health and safety and has responsibility for approving contracts to access stations, track and light maintenance depots.
Responsibility for the regulation of the railways in England and Wales is currently broadly divided between the DfT and ORR. The proposals in this document will not increase the overall regulatory burden on TOCs or other private sector participants in the industry. The areas where it is proposed ORR might play a bigger role are currently subject to monitoring and enforcement by DfT, either through franchise contracts or responsibilities given to DfT under the licensing system.

ORR media relations
020 7282 2094

DfT press office
020 7944 3108


Railhub Archive ::: 2011-12-22 ORR-001





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