Saturday, 14 May 2011

First should provide more in return for longer franchise

First has announced that it is to surrender the Great Western rail franchise, but only so that it can bid for a longer contract - perhaps one as long as 20 years. As the major rail provider for Cornwall, local residents and businesses will be paying close attention to what happens.

If First are to get their long term franchise then they need to promise a better service for customers. In particular, they need to get the punctuality record up to at least the UK average; they need to bring down some of the stupendously high fares and they need to provide a regular service to smaller Cornish stations.

But most of all, they need to guarantee the number of trains per day that will run as far as Penzance and abandon any moves to end the mainline service at Plymouth or Exeter.

UPDATE - St Ives MP Andrew George has insisted that the existing timetable of through trains to Penzance should be considered the absolute minimum for the new franchise.

1 comment:

martijn said...

Is it necessary for the branch lines in Devon and Cornwall to be run by the same company that runs the London-Penzance line? The reason I'm asking is my experience in the Netherlands where those two - main lines connecting 'remote' areas with the West of the country and branch lines in these areas - were separated and companies that usually had some kind of local link (e.g. companies that already ran local bus services) started to run the branch lines, while the (privatised) Dutch Railways continued to run the main lines. The experience has largely been a positive one and in many cases the frequency on the branch lines actually increased.