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All major activity will be published in both forms and promoted to stakeholders and the press for wider dissemination. In contrast, some publications, particularly those aimed at niche/specialist audiences, may be published in electronic format only.
It is the Department's policy to make documents available in paper and alternative formats on request. The DfT website also complies with Web Accessibility Initiative (WIA) AA accessibility standards.
Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport is currently assessing its policies and functions, including those of the Rail Group, in preparation for producing its own Disability Equality Scheme and Action Plan which will be published later this year.
All new rail vehicles must be accessible to disabled people, including wheelchair users. Over 4,400 accessible vehicles have already entered service.
All TOCs, and Network Rail, are now required to publish a Disabled People's Protection Policy which describes how they will provide a service to disabled passengers and make information about the accessible features of each of the stations they operate publicly available.
As service providers, TOCs are obliged to remove any barriers that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to access their services. This duty applies to infrastructure including stations and services such as booking facilities.
In addition, we have launched our Railways for All Strategy which sets out how we will improve the accessibility of rail travel in Great Britain. The strategy is complemented by a £370 million Access for All fund to target improvements to the accessibility of stations through to 2015.
Powers in the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 will also have an effect in this area. In particular, they will give disabled people a right of access to transport vehicles?including rail vehicles, enable the setting of an end date, of no later than 1 January 2020, by which time all rail vehicles will become regulated, enable accessibility regulations to be applied to older rail vehicles when they are refurbished and other measures such as the introduction of compliance certification. These provisions will be in place by the end of this year.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with GNER concerning its plans to increase the number of Leeds to London trains; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: Network Rail has been required by the Office of Rail Regulation to undertake further timetabling work to establish how many additional GNER Leeds to London trains can be accommodated in addition to the extra Grand Central and Hull Trains services for which ORR recently granted access rights. The impact on
GNER's timetable plans will be assessed when the result of Network Rail's work becomes available.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make representations to Transport for London to ensure that (a) underground stations are not closed and (b) services are not subject to significant restrictions unless planned work is carried out; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The closure of stations and suspension of services for maintenance works is an operational matter for London Underground, which transferred from central Government to Transport for London and the Mayor of London on 15 July 2003.
Dr. Ladyman: There are two back-up provisions available to all garages in the MOT scheme designed to enable continuity of service to motorists in the event of technical difficulties to the MOT computer system. In addition to these, all of the 18,300 garages currently in the MOT scheme have been contacted and advised to write to the MOT service management team if they believe they have suffered financial loss as a result of disruptions to the MOT service. Each claim will be considered on its respective merits.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to announce a decision in relation to the Night Flights Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Consultation; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 3 May 2006]: We have been considering the responses to the consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports and will announce our final conclusions by the end of the month. However, in order to remove uncertainty on an element which has given rise to concerns, we announced yesterday that we have decided not to increase night-time movement limits at Heathrow during the period 2006 to 2012.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had since the
beginning of 2005 with (a) directors and (b) employees of Network Rail to discuss extra rail capacity for open access operators; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The Secretary of State meets regularly with senior directors of Network Rail to discuss a range of issues, including improving the capacity of parts of the network for all train operators, both franchised and open access.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) the Office of the Rail Regulator, (b) potential bidders, (c) Network Rail and (d) Passenger Focus about the network capacity and financial implications of an open access operator operating on the route as part of the franchise specification process for the (i) South West, (ii) East Midlands, (iii) West Midlands and (iv) Cross Country franchise areas. 
Derek Twigg: The Department has regular discussions with the ORR, Network Rail and Passenger Focus on issues relating to franchise specifications, and a briefing session for potential franchise bidders was held in April 2006.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the rail franchise contracts that have been awarded in the last two years; and what the (a) premium or subsidy payable and (b) length of the contract is in each case. 
|Franchise||Started||Term (years)||Subsidy or premium|
Derek Twigg: The following franchises have part of their operation on the East Coast Main Line: Virgin Cross Country, Northern Trains, Trans Pennine Express, First Capital Connect, ScotRail, Central Trains and GNER. Periodically these franchises will
fall due for renewal. Replacement franchises will be awarded in accordance with DfTs guidance which is published on the Department's website.
Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information a bidder is required to give about its services for disabled people within the tender evaluation process for rail franchising; and what weight is given to that information in awarding the franchise. 
Derek Twigg: The evaluation of each bid incorporates assessing the evidence provided of how the franchisee intends to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) in delivering station and train services including provision of assistance to and consultation with impaired passengers, provision of tickets and training of staff.
Derek Twigg: Under present plans Ivybridge will have five trains in each direction each weekday with effect from December 2006, at times to meet the needs of the majority of users. We are considering whether there are options for providing additional services.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to be able to announce how much will be available from the savings made by the reduction in the Sunderland-Newcastle rail service to help fund improvements to Sunderland railway stations. 
Derek Twigg: Discussions between the Department for Transport and Nexus, the Tyne and Wear PTE, who are sponsoring proposed improvements to Sunderland railway station, are continuing. An announcement will be made in due course.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much (a) GNER trains, (b) Virgin trains, (c) Northern trains and (d) First trains have been fined for late running of trains in each year since the introduction of the fines. 
Derek Twigg: The penalties for poor performance paid by franchised train operators, together with bonuses paid where performance has been better than each company's benchmark, are itemised in the following table.
|Incentive net regime payments by financial year|
| Notes: 1. Figures obtained from published financial reports. 2. Brackets indicate receipt from the Operator. 3. Roundings can result in the total not being the same as previous published total. 4. Wales and West Railway and Cardiff Railway were superseded by Wales and Borders Trains and Wessex Trains on 14 October 2001. 5. 2004-05 represents the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005, with the exception of Arriva Trains Northern, which is from 1 April 2004 to 11 December 2004; First North Western, which is from 1 April 2004 to 11 December 2004; Northern, which is from 12 December 2004 to 31 March 2005; Scotrail, which is from 1 April 2004 to 16 October 2004; and First Scotrail, 17 October 2004 to 31 March 2005. 6. 2003-04 represents the period 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004, with the exception of Arriva Trains Wales, which is from 8 December 2003 to 31 March 2004; South Eastern Trains, which is from 9 November 2003 to 31 March 2004; TransPennine Express, which is from 2 February 2004 to. 31 March 2004. 7. Merseyrail no longer franchised from July 2003.|
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