What is happening now?
The Department for Transport negotiated a new short-term franchise (known as a direct award) with East Midlands Trains (EMT), the existing operator of the route. Starting from October 2015 the direct award will allow EMT, who are part of the Stagecoach Group, to continue to run services in the area until at least March 2018 when a new franchise will begin.
The timetable for the next franchise competition will start when the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice will be published in December 2016. This will be followed by consultation, invitations to prospective bidders to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, leading to a list of shortlisted bidders, before the Invitation to Tender (ITT) is issued in May 2017. The new franchise will be awarded in March 2018 ready to start in July 2018
Our role in the franchising process
We met with the DfT to determine our input to the next franchise replacement process and we continue to hold detailed discussions with the DfT to identify key issues.
In 2014 we commissioned qualitative research into passengers’ current experiences and aspirations for the future franchise. We used this and other research, including the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), to inform our discussions with the DfT about passengers’ priorities for the direct award period. This has also been used as part of our analysis and recommendations for the franchise which we published in March 2015.
We also carried out an exercise on behalf of the DfT to gather passenger feedback online, the results of which will help DfT and East Midlands Trains shape future improvements.
We made representations to the DfT about the passenger benefits we wanted to see delivered by the most Direct Award. These included establishing NRPS targets for the franchise which are now in place.
To view our National Rail Passenger Survey reports or to access these and our appeal complaints data through our Data Explorer tool, please click on the links below:
Transport Focus research and publications
|East Midlands Trains direct award announcement – Transport Focus response|