First Great Western welcomes Government decision to explore franchise options

Monday 17th March 2014
First Great Western has responded to the publication of a government procurement notice, concerning the future of the Great Western franchise.

A spokesman for First Great Western said:

"We welcome the publication of the prior information notice in respect of the Great Western franchise.

"The Department for Transport (DfT) has always stated that any decision on the future of the franchise would be based on delivering the best value for customers and taxpayers beyond September 2015. Given the significant number of investment projects currently underway, and due to be completed over the next six years on the Great Western network, a directly awarded franchise covering the entire period of upgrades may create better overall value.

"In March last year the DfT signalled that further consideration would be given to the future of the Great Western franchise and this ensures that all options remain open to it."

With First Great Western’s two-year Single Tender Award due to expire in September 2015, the procurement notice allows the DfT to explore options for the Great Western franchise including the provision of another Direct Award to First Group. Failure to lodge the notice with the European Union would prevent the Government from being able to consider any Direct Award options.