Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Lord Adonis resides in parallel universe

This surreal response from the Noble Lord, given in the Upper House yesterday:

Lord Dykes (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of suggestions for gross cost contracts for future rail franchises.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Labour)
Gross cost contracts would place all revenue risks of passenger train operations with the public sector and would require the Government to be more greatly involved in specification and monitoring of all elements of rail operations, including the setting of fares, timetable development, revenue protection, service quality and marketing activities.

We do not believe that government involvement in such an approach would benefit users or franchisees. The Government believe that the ability of private sector operators to attract more passengers, grow the market, improve the service and receive the revenue benefits of such actions is a key element of the current franchise model and one of the reasons for the significant growth delivered in recent years. Our discussions with operators have generally supported this view.

Using your skill and judgment you may care to guess which one of these the Government is currently NOT directly involved with:

- Setting of fares (DOR recast of East Coast fares at the Noble Lord's behest )

- Timetable development (Adonis telling NR to path a sub 4hr London - Edinburgh service)

- Revenue protection (DafT proposals to increase penalty fares and demanding station gating)

- Service quality (Adonis specifies catering on train and at stations)

and marketing activities.

The clue is marketing...

But Adonis has had a jolly good go at pushing the All Line Rover, despite ATOC's best endeavours...

UPDATE: This from The Tailor....

The noble lord DOES get involved in marketing.

I am reliably informed that he personally approved the East Coast newspaper advert, which appeared just before Christmas, that sought to capitalise on the threatened BA strike by proclaiming the rail alternative.

All very laudable, but surely not in his job description?

PS The 'arm's length' DOR offices at Marsham Street are literally an 'arm's length' from m'Lord's very own throne room.