Latest Rail News

05.05.16

Transport Committee inquiry seeks evidence on rail franchising

The latest ‘Future of Rail’ inquiry from the Transport Committee, on rail franchising, is now seeking evidence.

The inquiry is looking into the extent to which the DfT’s approach to rail franchising is achieving its key policy intentions of transferring financial risk to the private sector and promoting competition in the market at the same time as improving rail passenger experience and striking the right balance between cost, service quality and deliverability. It will also assess its ability to cope with high levels of planned franchising activity in 2016 and 2017.

The DfT’s approach to rail franchising has changed in recent years to accommodate criticisms made following the collapse of the West Coast franchise in the Laidlaw review and Brown review.

The committee is also interested in the costs of bidding for franchises and the extent to which increasing costs may be dissuading new entrants to the market, actions to combat this by encouraging more new entrants, and practical recommendations to better manage the effects of rail infrastructure works on rail franchisees.

It will examine the feasibility of a significant increase in open access operators on the rail network, which peers warned in a House of Lords session yesterday could limit existing franchise operation commitments.

The inquiry will also evaluate lessons that can be learned from the current competition for the East Anglia franchise once the successful bidder is announced.

It is open for submissions until 3 June and follows existing inquiries into rail technology, digital rail and passenger experiences. The next inquiries in the series will be about railway safety, governance and financing.

To submit evidence to the inquiry, click here.

(Image c. Joshua Brown)

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