Posted 20th March 2015 | 1 Comment

First wins TransPennine Express extension

THE Department for Transport has moved forward with its franchising programme by extending the First TransPennine Express contract by a year to 1 April 2016.

The widely-expected agreement means that FTPE will now end at the same time as Northern. First said it was shortlisted for the next TransPennine Express franchise and looked forward to 'submitting a bid later in the year to deliver significant improvements for customers and value for money for taxpayers'.

First said it would continue with various improvements between now and 2016, including the extension of free WiFi at stations and more training for frontline staff.

First chief executive Tim O'Toole said: "We have an excellent track record at First TransPennine Express, which provides vital connections between key cities in the North of England and Scotland. Since the franchise began, our experienced team have worked hard to introduce brand new trains, refurbished stations, increased frequency and improved journey times. As a result the service is more popular than ever, now carrying 26 million passengers a year compared to 13 million in 2004. Today's agreement with the Department for Transport provides continuity and consistency for First TransPennine Express passengers over the next year, as we focus on continuing to deliver great customer service and introducing improvements ahead of submitting our bid for the new franchise later in the spring.”

Meanwhile, an announcement about an extension of the Great Western franchise to February 2020 is also due, having been foreshadowed by the Chancellor in his budget speech this week.

Reader Comments:

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  • Lewis Downie, Aberfoyle, Scotland, UK

    I just hope first get to keep the franchises. They have been royally shafted by The government over the last year or two. They should be allowed to build on success, not have the rug pulled from under them!