UK Government

Department for Transport: Better services planned for Essex Thameside rail users

Press Release   •   Jan 21, 2010 11:00 GMT

Passengers on the Essex Thameside rail franchise, which operates services from London Fenchurch Street to Southend Central and Shoeburyness, are set to benefit from longer trains, improved station facilities, better security and other service improvements under plans unveiled today by Transport Minister Paul Clark

Mr Clark announced the improved service standards the Government will expect from future bidders to run the franchise on the line.

The planned improvements are detailed in a public consultation launched by the Government as part of the process to find a new train operator to run Essex Thameside rail services when the current franchise ends.

Paul Clark said:

"Passengers on the Essex Thameside rail franchise currently enjoy one of the most reliable services in the UK but we want to make even more improvements, including longer trains to carry more passengers at the busiest times of day.

“Today we are setting out what bidders interested in taking over the route must consider.

"The new operator will be expected to provide better service information for passengers and improved facilities at stations, including more parking spaces for cyclists and drivers. They will also be required to monitor service quality and ensure stations and trains are cleaned and maintained to a high standard.”

The proposals include:

-  The number of services stopping at West Ham station during the morning peak increasing from four trains per hour;

-  Smartcards to be made available across the franchise;

-  Better CCTV coverage at stations for cycling facilities and station car parks to improve security;

-  Any new  trains on the franchise to have CCTV, providing more security for passengers;

-  The provision of 400 additional car parking spaces and more than doubling secure cycle storage spaces across the network;

-  Improvements to passenger information facilities on platforms and on trains;

-  Setting targets ensuring the operator monitors their environmental performance and proposes reductions to carbon emissions;

-  Making the future operator set National Passenger Survey targets for trains, stations and customer service – if the operator fails to meet those targets they would have to invest more to make improvements in those areas.

Notes to editors

1.      Expressions of interest are being formally invited today. The Invitation to Tender will be issued in summer 2010. The new franchise is set to commence on the 29 May 2011. The full consultation document for the Essex Thameside franchise is available at www.dft.gov.uk. The consultation closes on the 19 April 2010.

2.      The new franchise will also contain contractually binding National Passenger Service (NPS) targets with additional obligations for investment for non-delivery.

3.      The consultation document sets out the main challenges that the new franchise operator will face and highlights the key requirements that the Department currently proposes to include within the Invitation to Tender (ITT).

4.      Responses to the consultation will inform the development of the Invitation to Tender that bidders will be asked to bid on. It is expected the ITT will be published in the summer of 2010.

5.      Over the coming weeks the Department will have extensive discussions with local interested stakeholders, via a series of stakeholder meetings.

6.      The consultation will run until the 19 April 2010. Copies of the consultation documents have been placed in the House Library, are available on the Department for Transport website and will be sent to key stakeholders.

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