More trains and more space for passengers form key elements of the new South West franchise, said the Department for Transport (DfT) as it issued the Invitation to Tender for the new franchise, which begins in June 2017.
The DfT said quicker journey times are also required on at least 70% of services from December 2020. In the plans announced by Claire Perry today (July 4), there must be at least 95 extra trains on weekdays from December 2018, doubling of services along the London Waterloo to Reading and Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside routes, and earlier first and later last trains on many routes from December 2018.
Additionally, the new franchise requires at least a 20% increase in peak-time capacity from December 2020, while there is an ambition to introduce a new delay repay compensation system for passengers. New smart ticketing technology will also be introduced, along with new tickets for part-time workers.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “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.”
The two shortlisted bidders are First South Western Trains Limited and Stagecoach South West Limited. MTR recently joined First in a joint venture.
Bidders have until August to submit bids.
- For more on this, read RAIL 805, published on July 20.