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Rail Franchises

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish (a) the cost benefit analysis and (b) the appraisal summary table taking account of the five objectives outlined in the new approach to appraisal prepared by his Department prior to (i) the award of the Greater Western franchise, (ii) the award of the South Western Trains franchise, (iii) the specification for the new cross country franchise and (iv) recent announcements by the Association of Train Operating Companies of fare increases. (109246)

The Department for Transport addresses the five objectives outlined in the new approach to transport appraisal in preparing the specification included in the invitation to tender for franchise replacements. The specification is the basis upon which bids are assessed, and the submission of the successful bidder needs to demonstrate that it represents value for money.

The business case analysis that supports the development of the franchise specifications is not published, although the rationale behind changes is communicated through stakeholder meetings and stakeholder briefing documents.

The decision has been taken to maintain the status quo in relation to fares policy with an average increase of RPI+1 per cent. for regulated fares. It is for individual train operators to set regulated fares within the constraints imposed by regulation, while unregulated fares may be set on a commercial basis. The Department does not appraise the decisions that individual train operators make.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the new approach to appraisal is routinely applied when his Department specifies and awards rail franchises. (109247)

The Department for Transport routinely applies recognised appraisal methods in the specifying and awarding of rail franchises that are consistent with the new approach to transport appraisal.