Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher has criticised the decision to award FirstGroup the Great Western franchise in a new 42-month deal.
The deal was announced three days after the TransPennine Express deal went to First in a Direct Award, and Dugher said: “In less than a week, Ministers have now rushed out two Direct Awards to private sector rail companies, making a mockery of the current franchise model.
“The current franchising system is not fit for purpose for either the travelling public or the taxpayer. That’s why we need Labour's better plan for the railways that will put the current franchise system in the bin, create a public sector operator to take on these failing private firms, and ensure a strong passenger voice within a more publicly controlled railways.”
- For more on this story, read RAIL 771, out on April 1.