Rail fares and franchises - Transport Committee Contents

1  Introduction

Background to rail fares and franchising

1. In 2006, we produced two major reports on rail passenger franchising and rail fares.[1] We made a series of unambiguous recommendations to the Government about how best to improve services and increase the value for money of the railways. We were clear about the systemic problems, and argued that these were likely to cause problems in less benign economic climates. At the beginning of 2009, with the UK going into recession, large increases in rail fares were introduced across the country. These fare rises were accompanied by rumours of franchise holders defaulting on their contracts. We felt the two subjects merited another short inquiry to follow up our 2006 reports. Our inquiry has addressed two main areas:

a)  fares—in January 2009 regulated fares increased by an average of 6% and unregulated fares by an average of 7%, and

b)  franchising—the implications of the recession for train operating companies (TOCs) and their rail franchises.

2. We held two oral evidence sessions in February, one with train operating companies, trade unions and passenger representatives, and a further one with the then Minister of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Lord Adonis. In June, we had a follow-up oral evidence session with Lord Adonis to examine developments in the intervening months.[2]

1   Transport Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2005-06, How fair are the fares ? Train fares and ticketing, HC 700; and Fourteenth Report of Session 2005-06, Passenger Rail Franchising, HC 1354 Back

2   Lord Adonis appeared before the Committee on 25 February 2009 as the then Minister of State for Transport, and on 17 June as Secretary of State for Transport to give evidence on rail fares and franchising. Back

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