Greater Anglia Consults Stakeholders on Franchise Extension Priorities
Abellio train operator Greater Anglia is consulting key stakeholders about their priorities for the potential franchise extension period announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) last month. The company is keen to hear stakeholders' priorities for improvements during a potential extension period, following the Department for Transport's recent announcement on future franchising policy - which would see the Greater Anglia franchise extended to October 2016 (subject to negotiation and agreement).
As the proposed extension term would only be for quite a short period of time and it is unclear at this stage what investment may or may not be available, it will be important to be realistic about what might be practical. However, Greater Anglia wishes to deliver the best possible programme of improvements and maintain an ongoing cycle of customer-focused upgrades over the course of any extension.
The company is therefore asking stakeholders (such as county councils, chambers of commerce, MPs, local enterprise partnerships and rail user groups) for their top 4 or 5 priorities, which are both consistent with the East Anglian Rail Prospectus and are of the type which might be achievable during an extension term.
Aspirations are expected to focus on upgrades to the trains themselves, station improvements, small scale timetable alterations, development of smart ticketing and further progress on integrated transport facilities, but Greater Anglia is looking to have prioritised, current views from stakeholders to inform any discussions with the DfT. Whilst the length of the extension period, the budgets available to the DfT and longer term planning and policy considerations will all shape what is actually possible, Greater Anglia believes that by working together the company and wider stakeholders can secure the best deal possible for passengers and the region's railways.
Ruud Haket, Managing Director, Greater Anglia said :
We have achieved much in our first 14 months operating the Greater Anglia franchise, including better punctuality, improved information provision, easier ticket purchase and, in partnership with Network Rail, a major reduction in disruptive weekend service alterations. However, we know that our passengers rightly expect further improvements, we recognise that we have more to do to achieve higher standards, more consistently, and we are keen to maintain the positive momentum of service enhancements we have created since February 2012. By working together with and listening to our stakeholders, we aim to do all we can to secure the best possible programme of affordable upgrades from an extension period, for the customers and communities we serve in East Anglia.