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Rail Franchising: PQQ Passport Award

Volume 603: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2015

I am pleased to inform the House that today we notified the first transport companies who have been successful in their pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) passport application. The PQQ passport is a new approach to the Department’s rigorous prequalification process in rail franchising and represents genuine innovation in procurement practice in Government for the passenger and taxpayer.

The following 11 companies will be able to submit their expression of interest for all future franchise competitions—within the lifetime of the passport—as from today, 15 December 2015.

Abellio Transport Group Ltd

Arriva UK Trains Ltd

First Rail Holdings Ltd

Go-Ahead Holding Ltd

Govia Ltd

Keolis (UK) Ltd

MTR Corporation (UK) Ltd

National Express Trains Ltd

Stagecoach Group Plc

Trenitalia SpA

Virgin Holdings Ltd

The quality of the submissions evidenced that we had explicitly sought high standards, integrity and professionalism from the national and international market. During the assessment stages we scrutinised and scored technical ability, strict safety standards and exemplary management practices. Our approach has resulted in a diverse and competitive market bidders from the UK and overseas who now hold the passport.

This brings a number of clear and positive outcomes: the passport is valid for a period of up to four years and in that time, applicants will be able to express their interest in all future franchise competitions without the need to submit the same information each time. This supports the Department’s effort to drive innovative customer-focused thinking and delivery from operators. Putting the passenger first is at the heart of all our franchise tenders and I believe this passport will keep the market fresh and dynamic.

The Department is focused on delivering better value for taxpayers and this announcement supports that. We can now focus our efforts on managing and negotiating the life-cycle of future franchises, build the necessary long-term industry relationships and continue to encourage parties from the UK and overseas to participate in our marketplace. This announcement is a hugely positive step and I am looking forward to seeing great results from a healthy, competitive open market.