The Intercity West Coast Franchise consultation has been launched today (10 May 2016). It will ask rail passengers their views on how the Intercity West Coast (ICWC) line might provide improved rail services. The consultation has been aimed at passengers, businesses and local councils so that they can provide input on the planned improvements on the franchise.
The Intercity West Coast Franchise, which operates between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Holyhead, will begin to invite bids from operating companies later in 2016. The consultation will shape the invitation to tender when it is published. The operator to take on the franchise will be announced in November 2017, to begin operating in April 2018.
The consultation launched today establishes the Department for Transport’s expectation of the franchise, setting out plans which will enhance growth, support investment and improve customer satisfaction. Opinions are ask relating to customer satisfaction and passenger information, train services which meet the needs of passengers and how the railway can be made to be more accessible, including ticketing, fares and payment.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
“We are investing a record £38 billion in our railways to deliver better journeys for passengers, and it is essential that passengers’ needs are at the heart of franchises in order to build on this investment.
“The ICWC line covers a vitally important part of our rail network, linking major cities in England, Scotland, and Wales. I want to see improvements to customer satisfaction, investment and better journeys for passengers during the next franchise.”
More than 34 million journeys were undertaken on ICSC franchise services from 2014-2015, amounting to 4.3 billion passenger miles. The franchise at the moment employs around 3,000 staff, operating 300 services daily. The new franchise operator will also play a key role in the delivery of HS2.
The consultation closes on 2 August 2016.
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