FirstGroup, the leading transport operator in the UK and North America, notes the publication today by the Department for Transport (‘DfT’) of an updated timetable for its rail franchising programme.
Today’s publication confirms that the DfT intend to negotiate a direct award for our First Great Western franchise with duration of three-and-a-half years to March 2019, with a further extension of up to one year at the DfT’s discretion. As previously announced this direct award will ensure stability during a period when a substantial programme of infrastructure upgrades will take place on the network and new trains are introduced.
Commenting, Tim O’Toole, FirstGroup’s Chief Executive, said:
“We welcome the publication of the latest DfT franchising timetable which continues to demonstrate clarity and momentum in the re-franchising programme. A period of detailed negotiation will follow but we are very pleased that, after a consultation process in which the DfT sought the views of stakeholders and user groups across the line of route, the DfT intend to negotiate a direct award of at least three-and-a-half years with us. This will offer good value for money and better services for First Great Western passengers and in particular, will provide stability and allow the planned major projects and new trains to be delivered.”