Passengers on the Greater Anglia rail franchise, which operates services from London to Norwich, Ipswich and Cambridge, are set to benefit from longer trains, enhancements at stations, more security and other service improvements under plans unveiled by Rail Minister Chris Mole today.
Mr Mole announced the improved service standards the Government will expect from future bidders to run the franchise on the line.
The new franchise operator will have to consider quicker journey times between Norwich and London and introducing minimum catering standards on InterCity trains.
The proposed improvements are detailed in a consultation set up by the Government as part of the process to find a new train operator to run Greater Anglia rail services when the current franchise ends.
Chris Mole said:
"The needs of passengers must come first – and we want the next operator of this key commuter route to offer a first class service.
“Today we are setting out what bidders interested in taking over the route must consider, including providing quicker journeys and more carriages on trains into London during peak periods.
"The new operator will be expected to provide better information for passengers about their services 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 clean and maintained to a high standard.”
Following the consultation process, the specification may require bidders for the franchise to consider:
- Options for faster journey times between London and Norwich;
- Improving the performance and reliability of long distance services;
- Enhancing the provision of ticket machines across the Greater Anglia franchise network;
- Minimum standards for catering on InterCity trains;
- Making smartcards available across the franchise;
- Better CCTV coverage at stations focusing on the coverage of cycling facilities and station car parks to improve passenger security;
- All new rolling stock on the franchise to have CCTV coverage providing more security for passengers;
- Setting targets ensuring the operator monitors their environmental performance and proposes reductions to carbon emissions;
- Tackling fare dodging, which may include additional gating and increasing staffing;
- Improving access to the network by developing Station Travel Plans and significantly increasing car parking and cycle storage facilities across the network;
- Providing more modern passenger information facilities on platforms and on trains;
- 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 1 April 2011. The full consultation document for the Greater Anglia franchise is available at www.dft.gov.uk The consultation closes on the 19 April 2010.
2. The Government is also considering the potential for a longer franchise length in return for more investment from the operator in areas such as for example rolling stock and stations.
3. The new franchise will also contain contractually binding National Passenger Service (NPS) targets, with additional obligations for investment for non-delivery.
4. The consultation document sets out the main challenges that the new franchise will face and highlights the key requirements that the Department currently proposes to include within the Invitation to Tender (ITT).
5. Responses to the consultation will inform the development of the Invitation to Tender that bidders will be asked to bid on. The Department expects to publish the ITT in the summer of 2010.
6. Over the coming weeks the Department will have extensive discussions with local interested stakeholders, via a series of stakeholder meetings.
7. The consultation will run until 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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