ATOC Comments On The Transport Select Committee Report On Rail Fares And Franchises27/07/2009
ATOC COMMENTS ON THE TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT ON RAIL FARES AND FRANCHISES
Commenting on the Transport Select Committee report on rail fares and franchises, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), said:
"It is wrong to describe as a 'mess' a franchising system that successfully runs over 20,000 services a day at record levels of performance and passenger satisfaction.
"Operators have been delivering better services on very modest profit margins and remain fully committed to providing a quality public service.
"Current economic conditions are difficult but rail demand has remained relatively resilient. Coming on the back of sustained growth in recent years in passenger numbers, this suggests that customers are finding the many good value fares that exist and are voting for the railways with their feet.
“ATOC has worked closely with Passenger Focus to simplify the fares available and over 80% of passengers travel on some form of discounted ticket. Train companies work hard to give passengers accurate advice on the best value fares and deals on offer."
"The Committee is right to say that the current approach to franchising can still be improved. We particularly support a move to greater use of longer franchises, with better risk sharing between operators and the Government. This will help train companies invest more time, energy and money into providing yet better customer service.
"We too support the principle of making franchises more passenger-focused and we are developing specific proposals on improving franchising which we will be sharing with the Department for Transport in the near future.”
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) provides the official voice for the passenger rail industry by representing train companies to the government and other opinion formers on transport policy issues. Britain's train operators are working together to change rail travel for the better.
ATOC manages many joint activities for train operators including revenue allocation and settlement, impartial retailing, National Rail Enquiries, Railcard marketing, staff travel arrangements, international products and travel agent licensing.
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