Skip to main content

Railways: Franchises

Volume 694: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What weight they give to past performance when assessing the merits of a bid for a railway franchise. [HL4807]

The past performance of bidders is assessed as part of the initial pre-qualification stage of franchise competitions. Track record in relevant service delivery and financial management represents approximately 70 per cent of the total score for this stage. Where a bidder is an existing franchisee, national rail performance data are taken into account, in addition to the evidence in the bidder’s submission.

The second and final stage is the evaluation of bids submitted by the shortlisted companies. Bid evaluation focuses on the confidence in delivery of proposals for the new franchise. Bids should be supported by relevant evidence, which could include specific examples of past performance.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

In assessing franchise bids how much the environmental impact of encouraging rail travel is taken into account. [HL4811]

Encouraging travellers to choose rail instead of other modes will, in general terms, help to reduce carbon emissions. This underlies Department for Transport objectives in specifying franchised rail services. The department seeks to ensure that the specification issued to bidders will deliver an efficient service that meets passengers’ needs while being affordable for the taxpayer. In order to win the contract, bidders must demonstrate their ability to deliver the service reliably, at a price that is value for money. A successful bidder will need to take every advantage of opportunities to increase passenger usage and promote rail. We also ask bidders to put forward their plans for improving the environmental performance of the business, which are taken into account when the bid is awarded.