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Rail passengers urged to have their say on Great Western

Published in News on Thursday December 22nd, 2011. Last updated at 13:05

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Rail passengers in South Wales are being asked for their views on how their rail services should be run, Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has announced.

A consultation launched today will give passengers, local councils and other interested groups the chance to say what improvements and changes they want to see delivered by the new Great Western rail franchise, which is set to be renewed in 2013.

The Great Western franchise is currently run by the First Group and connects Wales with London.

Theresa Villiers said: “This consultation launch represents an excellent opportunity for passengers to make their mark and tell us what changes they think should be made. This is their chance to tell us how train services can better serve passengers.

“The franchise will be one of the first to be let on a 15 year term. We will expect the train operator chosen to run the franchise to provide high quality services, deliver improved levels of passenger satisfaction, roll out smart ticketing for thousands more journeys, and invest in improvements that will benefit passengers.

“The winning bidder will also need to build successful working relationships with Network Rail aimed at improving efficiency and reducing the cost of running the railways. The coming years will also see a major improvements to Great Western rail infrastructure.”

The new franchisee will be responsible for ensuring that overall passenger experience improves throughout the life of the franchise. There will need to be improvements in: service quality, retailing and provision of information to customers, particularly during times of planned and unplanned disruption. The franchisee will also need to ensure that train services perform to the highest practical reliability and punctuality standards.

The successful bidder is expected to oversee the introduction of new Intercity Express trains on the route, providing more capacity than the High Speed Trains they are planned to replace on parts of the franchise. They will also oversee a major increase in capacity on routes into London Paddington – with the number of peak times seats set to increase from around 17,000 today to almost 20,000 in 2019 – and will manage the franchise through major upgrade and electrification work to the Great Western Mainline.

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