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Passengers' views must be heard in rail franchise process

19 January 2011
Commenting on the Government’s policy statement on rail franchise reform, Campaign for Better Transport’s public transport campaigner Alexandra Woodsworth said:

“We’re pleased that the Government has recognised that simply giving train companies much more license to decide on what services they want to provide isn’t going to benefit most passengers. In particular, they’ve agreed with us on the need to specify things like off-peak service levels and station facilities in franchises. But we’re worried that they’re going to leave the detail to individual franchises which train companies can then haggle over with the Department for Transport’s officials. The views of passengers must be heard in the franchise process.

“Overcrowding will also be dealt with in franchises outside London for the first time, but it’s not clear who will be responsible for delivering the new capacity that is so desperately needed. We remain concerned that any improvements to tackle crowding will come at the expense of significant fares increases for passengers, and all passengers will be paying much more without necessarily seeing improvements on their services”.