Rail passengers who travel between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow will benefit from extra seats added to trains each day.
A new flexible franchise agreement has now been announced which will allow more services to be scheduled around busy times to help ease the amount of commuters during rush hour. The franchise will encourage the new operator to invest in improvements at stations and help to decrease costs.
At the moment the rail services that are provided can be difficult for passengers as many find they can’t get a seat during rush hour, trains can be late and the technology that is used on board needs to be updated, this is why extra benefits listed on the franchise for customers will be a new smart ticketing technology. This is set to bring the rail industry up to date with fast and efficient ticketing processes.
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers welcomed the new changes to how the franchise will benefit customers saying: “Passengers will welcome the additional seats this new franchise will deliver everyday on what is becoming one of the UK’s busiest rail lines.
“A longer, more flexible franchise will encourage private sector investment, for example in improving stations. The roll out of smart ticketing will provide many more passengers with greater convenience and the sort of advantages already enjoyed in the capital.”
A flexible franchise agreement gives bidders the flexibility to vary timetables on individual days of the week to cater for changes in demand where some days can be busier than others. Enabling operators to provide better services for passengers, whilst protecting existing services by specifying a minimum number of stops at each station.
The main aim of the new franchise is to provide customers with the best service providing adequate seating, on time services and a quick travel time to get passengers to their destination.
The franchise agreement is set to start in December 2012 until March 2026 giving the new changes enough time to make an impact of how the rail industry works and will be a more efficient service for passengers.
Last month the rail industry was given the go ahead of the HS2 rail network by the Government which will see high speed trains of up to 250mph taking passengers to their destination cutting travel times down. This is considered to be a long term solution to capacity problems.
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By Amanda Bainbridge