Thursday, 21 January 2010

NatEx "considers" bidding for current franchises

This internal announcement from the formerly doomed National Express (with a bowler tip to Sinoda):

Dear All

I wanted to update you about reports you may have seen in this morning’s newspapers, that Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport, has announced plans for the re-tendering of the East Anglia and c2c franchises as part of wider reforms for the rail industry.

The reports relate to the first step in the tender process which will see the outline terms for the new franchises sent to potential bidders. The next step will be the formal tendering process, which Lord Adonis has confirmed will not take place until after the general election.

Our position is that we will take time to consider the franchise documents before coming to a decision about re-tendering.

One of the things being proposed is that the c2c franchise will be known as Essex Thameside. This is the Department for Transport’s (DfT) name for the franchise and does not impact on our c2c branding which we will continue to use.

We have a fantastic record of running railways and I know you will continue to focus on delivering great operational performance and unbeatable customer service. The recent bad weather has demonstrated the enormous efforts you make to ensure we run services for our customers.

c2c is the best-performing train company in the UK , a position it has held over a number of years. It consistently delivers the highest levels of PPM performance and has the achieved the best ever MAA in the rail industry of 96.2%. It has the best customer satisfaction rating amongst franchised operators in the most recent National Passenger Survey and operates the most reliable fleet in UK as recognised by the recent Golden Spanner awards.

National Express East Anglia has delivered consistent improvements in PPM performance improving its moving annual average performance from 85% in 2004 at start of franchise to 91.6% at end of Period 9 in December 2009. Our Service Improvement Plan is underway to introduce 30 new trains and17 refurbished trains as part of £185m deal with the DfT, and already we are delivering 28,000 extra seats for our customers each week.

We do a great job every day, and I know that’s a record we are all proud of.

As ever, I will continue to keep you updated with developments as and when appropriate.

Kind regards
David Franks

What a lot of words to convey a fairly simple message.

Allow Eye to translate: 'Adonis - you're a dead man walking. Tories - National Express is still here and if you let us, we can bring something to the party.'

Subtle, not.

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

From Lord Adonis yesterday:
"Recent events have also shown how vital it is that we make it harder for operators to walk away from their franchises, so performance bonds will rise and we will expect much larger guarantees from parent companies."

And from today’s OJEU notice:
The future franchisees should have sufficient financial backing to place a performance bond and a season ticket bond. For Essex Thameside, these are expected to be up to GBP 15 million and GBP 20 million respectively. For Greater Anglia, these are expected to be up to GBP 40 million and GBP 70 million respectively

So National Express will indeed need to bring something to the party if they want to retender

Namely bonds to the value of £145 million!