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West Midlands Franchise Procurement Consultation Manager

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					West Midlands Franchise Procurement Consultation Manager
DfT Rail Group
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DR



23 August 2006



Dear Sir/Madam,

WEST MIDLANDS FRANCHISE CONSULTATION

The South East England Regional Transport Board is a partnership board chaired by the
South East England Regional Assembly. Its membership comprises six Regional
Assembly members, a Board member from the SEEDA (the Regional Development
Agency), together with representatives from the Government Office, the Highways
Agency, Network Rail, Confederation of Passenger Transport and the environmental
sector.

The Board met on the 21 July to discuss the West Midlands Franchise Consultation
Document. During the discussion a number of points were raised in relation to the
franchise as set out below.

Milton Keynes Central Capacity Use

The Board is extremely disappointed that the franchise makes little use or reference to
the additional capacity created by the Community Infrastructure Fund investments at
Milton Keynes Central, apart from the potential to serve Bedford services in the future.
The final franchise specification must set out clearly how the additional capacity at
Milton Keynes Central will be used to provide additional services that support the
planned levels of growth.




                                                                               cont./…...
                                           -2-


East West Rail

The consultation raises in summary form the role and potential of East West Rail, and
notes that the current services from Bedford to Bletchley are likely to become part of a
Community Rail Partnership. Whilst the consultation document highlights the possibility
of running services directly to Milton Keynes Central, which would in effect see the first
stages of the creation of the service pattern envisaged by East West Rail, the importance
of East West Rail to the delivery of the MKSM Growth Area does not appear to be
sufficiently reflected in the franchise as currently drafted. The final franchise should
reflect the progression of the scheme, the ongoing work and importantly that train and
infrastructure operators would be expected to be fully engaged in future stages of the
work.


Electronic Ticketing

The Board notes that the recent decision of DfT that all franchises serving Greater
London will be required to accept Oyster cards within London and offer other
electronic tickets on the remainder of the network. When refranchising the South West
Franchise the Department took the step of including the wider roll out of electronic
ticketing across the whole of this franchise as part of the base case, so as to build on the
flexibility that such a system offers, and the potential for use of these systems on other
public transport modes.

Due to the opportunities that this approach would provide in being a driver for
innovative ticketing and further public transport use in the MKSM Growth Area, the
Department should be urged to adopt a similar approach, if not for the entire franchise
area, at least as far as that served by the current Silverlink franchise.

Yours sincerely,




Nick Skellett
Chair Regional Transport Board

Cc     David Cooper, GOSE
       Stephen Clarke, DfT Rail

				
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Description: West Midlands Franchise Procurement Consultation Manager