12 more months to ensure continuity of services
The Government has agreed a 12-month direct award agreement with First and Keolis to continue to operate the TransPennine Express franchise until the end of March 2016.
As part of its commitments under the direct award, First TransPennine Express will:
- Introduce free wi-fi at all major TransPennine stations;
- Implement ‘smart’ enabled ticket machines and gates at Huddersfield station, allowing the use of West Yorkshire’s smart ‘mcard’;
- Provide technical modifications to improve the reliability of the existing fleet;
- Invest in new customer information facilities at key stations; and
- Deliver a programme of customer service training for staff.
There is the option of a further extension of up to 10 months.
The Government says the deal will ensure continuity of services before the new franchise starts in 2016.
The Invitation to Tender for the new franchise was released at the end of February. Three operators have been shortlisted to bid for the new franchise:
- First TransPennine Express Ltd;
- Keolis Go-Ahead Ltd; and
- Stagecoach TransPennine Express Trains Limited.