Franchising Key To Railway Boom Say Train Companies13/11/2009
Commenting on the new arrangements for operating train services on the East Coast Main Line, Michael Roberts, the Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:
“Since privatisation, train companies have helped to generate record levels of investment, customer satisfaction and punctuality. There has been a boom in rail travel, with passengers flocking back to trains in numbers not seen since the Second World War, brought about by the public and private sectors working together.
“Franchising has been key to delivering these benefits to passengers. But now is the time to build on these successes and reform franchising to allow train operators to tackle future challenges more effectively. We need smarter franchises that would give greater long term stability to the system and encourage train operators to invest more in better services for passengers.
“Those who hanker for the return of nationalised railways are living in the past. There was no golden age under British Rail. Rather than talking about an irrelevant issue like renationalisation, we should be focusing instead on releasing the full potential of private sector train operators by building on the success of privatisation and reforming the franchise system.”
Notes to Editors
Train operators have had a major role in:
• investing over £4.5 billion in new rolling stock in the last ten years
• carrying over 60% more passengers than in 1995, the highest level ever in peace time in Britain
• making trains more punctual than ever – over nine out of ten regularly arrive on time. This is the highest ever level of performance.
• making big contributions to tackling climate change. Rail emits less than 1% of the total UK carbon dioxide and, as train companies have cut down on electricity and diesel consumption, the railway’s carbon footprint has fallen by 25% per passenger mile over the last decade.
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