“SIGNIFICANT improvements for passengers in reliability, punctuality and customer satisfaction” underpin the Department for Transport decision to award a three-year National Rail Contract to Avanti West Coast. It has an optional extension to nine years.
In its September 19 statement, the DfT also announced a four-year National Rail Contract (NRC) for CrossCountry, with an optional extension up to eight years.
Both NRCs start on Sunday October 15. Post-COVID, the operators had short-term contract extensions.
Acknowledging that there “are still challenges ahead”, AWC Managing Director Andy Mellors said the deal “provides stability for customers and colleagues as we continue to rebuild trust and confidence”.
In a cautious welcome from watchdog Transport Focus, Director David Sidebottom said:
“After previous poor performance… AWC must continue to focus on improving reliability to regain passenger trust.”
TF’s passenger satisfaction survey shows that AWC’s satisfaction rating has improved to 87%, its highest for more than a year. Satisfaction with punctuality and crowding is also recovering, although still lower than previous levels.
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