Wednesday, 15 July 2009

NXEA outsources revenue protection

What a deeply unpleasant company National Express East Anglia is.

This from the Londonist...

Sickened by freeloaders? Don't like the look of the bloke in the seat opposite? Worry no longer. National Express East Anglia have put up posters on the Stansted Express inviting you to report anyone you think might be fare evading.

Perhaps NXEA should get off its fat corporate derrier and check tickets, rather then encouraging this stasi-like snooping on fellow passengers?

UPDATE: This from Al...

Those posters have been up on the West Anglia for ages. There's a bit about it on the bottom of this page on their website.

You're not wrong though, I commute (admittedly over a short distance) from and to Cambridge every day and often use the WA at the weekends too, and I very, very rarely see any ticket checks.

UPDATE: This from Commuter...

Upon closer inspection of the sign, it actually starts with "if you believe a fellow customer..."

Perhaps if NX treats fare dodgers as customers then this may be the reason for their recent troubles.

I might just go and steal some food from Tescos and complain to their 'Customer services.'

Quite right too Commuter.

Just because you're innocent doesn't mean that you aren't guilty!*

*Taken from the Little Brown Book. Chapter 94 (with apologies to Private Eye)

Wind-up in the Willows #3 (or Laudate Bowker!)

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
Good grief. How much faster does poor old Moley have to back pedal?

Here he is yesterday - eulogising the same bus bandits who reneged on their contracts - or not.

"Punctuality, which is passengers' No. 1 concern, has improved dramatically. It has risen steadily since National Express East Coast took over the franchise, with the moving annual average rising from 81.7 to 87.6 per cent. Daily punctuality levels are now frequently above 90 per cent., and several 100 per cent. days have been achieved."

"We have seen tremendous innovation on the route, with wi-fi being introduced first to 10 trains and then to the whole east coast inter-city fleet—I have ambitions to see that on the service that I use every week."

"Stations on the route have also benefited from substantial and sustained investment, with the quality of the facilities being offered being recognised at places such as Durham, which was declared station of the year at the 2008 national rail awards."

"Finally, we should remember that the inter-city east coast franchise is one of those rare breeds that return a premium to the Department, and that premium is reinvested in the railway industry. Events of the recent past may have reduced the premiums available, but we can still confidently expect a significant return."

The phrase 'Eating sh*t whilst smiling' springs to mind!

Wind-up in the Willows #2

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
More brown trouser laundering by Moley.

"The hon. Member for Peterborough asserted that other operators have received revenue support sooner than four years into the franchise.

"It is true that the First Great Western franchise included a provision whereby revenue support became available after two years, but that was an exceptional arrangement

So DfT never renegotiates franchise - except when DfT got the franchise specification wrong and First Group have us over a barrel in which case it is an 'exceptional arrangement'.

First for benefitting from NatEx discomfort

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
When and if NXEC runs out of committed money and NatEx hands back the keys, it also gives DafT the £32 million performance bond.

Say it's going to cost DfT a couple of million to run its Holting (geddit) company until Inter-City East coast is re-let again, that 30 million will come in very handy when it comes to collaring FGW's revenue shortfall which is going to be well north of £60m in the current financial year.

How fortunate that DfT Rail's policy of not renegotiating franchises didn't apply to FGW when cap and collar was brought forward by two years.

Wind-up in the Willows

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
It looks as though poor Moley has been given the task of cleaning up after Lord Adonis.

With Marsham Street suffering a collective brown trouser moment after Lord Adonis gave Beau Bowker and his boyz in da NEG hood a very public dissing, there may be quite a bit of cleaning up to do.

This written answer from Chris Mole on the 13th July:
Under the National Express East Coast franchise agreement, National Express Group is obliged to meet its parent company loan obligation of a £40 million loan facility. It is also open to National Express Group, at their discretion, to make available support in excess of this

So NatEx isn't 'walking away' from its contractual obligations, as the Noble Lord repeatedly proclaimed, after all.

Although if Lord Adonis went round with the hat any discretionary tips would be gratefully accepted. And who determined the size of the parent company loan obligation for this 'medium risk' franchise?

Er, DafT!