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South Western franchise bidders required to set out plans to deliver better journeys

4 July 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published an Invitation to Tender for the South Western franchise setting out requirements for more trains, additional space and faster journeys.

South Western franchise bidders required to set out plans to improve journeys

Plans to improve services for passengers on the South Western network were announced by Rail Minister Claire Perry on 04 July, as a bidding requirement for the next franchise commencing June 2017.

“These improvements will deliver faster, smoother journeys for customers using these services”

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and this is great news for passengers who will see real benefits across the South Western network.

“The South Western franchise has some of the busiest routes in the country, serving a diverse range of passengers and places and these improvements will deliver faster, smoother journeys for customers using these services.”

South Western franchise

South Western franchise tender

The DfT has published documents setting out how bidders for the new South Western franchise will be required to provide plans for:

  • At least 95 additional services on weekdays from December 2018,
  • A doubling of services along the London Waterloo to Reading and Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside routes from two to four trains an hour,
  • Earlier first trains and later last trains on many routes from December 2018,
  • Quicker journey times on at least 70 percent of all services from December 2020,
  • An increase of at least 20 percent in peak time capacity from December 2020,
  • A new delay repay compensation system for passengers with a quicker and simpler claims process,
  • New smart ticketing technology and new tickets for part-time workers,

The Invitation to Tender details the minimum level of improvements that bidders hoping to secure the next franchise will need to include in their detailed proposals. Bidders are also encouraged to include proposals for additional benefits over and above the minimum requirements published on the 04 July.

In February 2016, First South Western Trains Limited and Stagecoach South West Limited were shortlisted by the DfT to compete for the next franchise.

The current franchise is operated by South West Trains and covers urban, suburban, regional and long-distance routes between London Waterloo, Reading, Bristol, Exeter, Weymouth and Portsmouth. It also includes the Island Line on the Isle of Wight.

Bidders for the South Western franchise have until August 2016 to submit their bids, with the new operator planned to take over the franchise in June 2017.

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