Thursday, 20 December 2012

LM shoddy service rewarded by franchise extension

Good to see that DfT is clamping down on poorly performing franchises.

Concealed amongst the self congratulatory press release from Stormin' Norman (who else!) boasting that the Government had secured £7m worth of ticketing geegaws for hard pressed London Midland commuters was the following:

"The deal that has been struck will also confirm the end date of the franchise as September 2015, ensuring that London Midland is given sufficient time to resolve these problems on a permanent basis."

Way, way back in the heady days of June 2007 when the franchise was first awarded the DfT statement to the Stock Market contained the following fearsome words...

"The new franchise will begin on 11th November 2007 and will run until 19th September 2015. The DfT has the right to terminate the franchise after six years if the operator is failing to meet agreed performance targets."

In fact sources suggest that the franchise contained a break point at six years, with an option for the DfT to extend it for a further 22 months.

Whilst the two other franchises let at the same time (EMT and CrossCountry) had both received notification from DfT some time ago that their franchises would be extended beyond the initial six years, on London Midland not a word!

That is until today.

So note to failing franchises - carry on the good work, the Department loves you.

UPDATE: This from Billy No Mates...

Could I point out that the £7m bung to LM commuters equates to just under two Laidlaw Inquiries.

Value for money indeed.