So what is Greater Anglia going to offer?
The Greater Anglia franchise is Abellio’s first solus rail operation in the UK. The Group was awarded the contract in October 2011 and it starts operating on 5th February 2012 and will provide intercity, commuter and rural services throughout the region including the Stansted Express service. The duration of the contract is 29 months (32 railway periods).
Upon taking over the contract Abellio will be responsible for almost 3,000 employees and the safe operation of 43,000 services per month. It will service 174 stations and carry two million passengers per week. Initially the Greater Anglia team will ensure priority is given to delivering a seamless transition and provision is in place for the Olympics in 2012. Preparation to deliver the improvements in customer service, station condition and operational performance will also be undertaken with implementation throughout the contract period.
Exciting additions to stations are planned within the short franchise term including the development of a new CyclePoint at Chelmsford, additional car parking spaces and electrical charge points and the trial of a shuttle bus service between Saffron Walden and Audley End making towns without stations accessible to more travellers.
Refurbishment will be undertaken at stations across the network with a focus on higher footfall stations. We will also be heavily involved in the development of plans at Cambridge station in partnership with Network Rail.
Safety and security is also a priority. Passengers will see more travel safety officers on the network to provide a visible and reassuring presence in and around stations. In addition trains will be deep cleaned to enhance the passenger journey experience.
New ticketing solutions including a mobile app and print at home service will be introduced to make booking travel quicker and easier wherever a passenger maybe. There will be additional ticket machines for those who wish to collect tickets on departure too. Access to information will be improved for those registered on the new Greater Anglia website (www.greateranglia.co.uk) with SMS and email alerts and service status just a mouse click away.1
The extension of Oyster Pay as You Go to 10 additional stations on the Shenfield and Hertford East lines will be introduced as will information kiosks which will be added to help customers at the larger stations.
New initiatives to help people to have a more comfortable and smooth journey will be introduced. This will involve the creation of zones on platforms to indicate where coaches will stop, better communications systems at stations and tools for roving staff to provide announcements to passengers as to where to stand for less busy coaches or services available from other platforms. New colour coded timetables will be introduced to indicate the level of crowding on different services which will help customers make choices about the train to use. Stansted Express and Intercity passengers travelling in first class will have complimentary refreshments made available to them during the journey.
From day one a priority for the Greater Anglia team will be to ensure that the Greater Anglia network is ready to offer a major transport link to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will work alongside the incumbent’s team and in addition deploy multi-lingual staff to ensure visitors feel assured when travelling on the network. Customer service training will be given to any agency employees deployed within the network during the Games period.
The Greater Anglia team is committed to improving performance and transparency when it comes to providing information to customers. A process of providing four weekly performance updates by line of route will be in established and this information will be made available at every station and on the website. It will tell customers how many trains were on time, how many trains were cancelled, what the major causes were behind incidents and what Greater Anglia is doing to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Ruud Haket, Mobilisation and Transition Director for Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd comments:
“We are delighted to have won the Greater Anglia franchise at such an exciting time. The challenge to ensure we are resourced and ready to deliver for London 2012 is key, but we are working now to be ready with implementable plans to deliver the improvements to the service and travel experience for residents of the region.”
1 This will not be available until 5/2/2012