In response to the Government’s policy statement on the future of rail franchising, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies said:
“Reform of rail franchising has the potential to bring significant benefits to passengers and taxpayers, so the Government’s announcement represents a positive change.
“Longer, less prescriptive franchises will allow train operators to respond more quickly to what passengers want, help drive down costs and open the door to more private sector investment. Franchises operate in very different circumstances, so it is right that the specifics of each franchise should be judged on a case by case basis.
“Giving operators more flexibility to decide how best to meet specific outcomes will allow them much greater freedom to tackle overcrowding more effectively, to improve stations and to find new ways of providing passengers with services that continue to improve.
“Franchises of 15 years or more will also allow train companies to strengthen their working relationship with other industry players and allow them to play a greater role in ensuring that the railways provide passengers and taxpayers with value for money.
“This is a good step forward. We now look forward to working with the Government to get the practical details right and ensure they are implemented as soon as possible.”