Rail Franchising in the UK ? the South Western Franchise
J Richards, J Stock, Department for Transport, UK
This paper reviews the franchise replacement process as applied to the South Western franchise.
The Department for Transport is responsible for the letting of rail franchises, and does so in line with clear processes that aim to bring transparency to the process. Since the ?The Future of Rail? White Paper of July 2004, and the subsequent abolition of the Strategic Rail Authority, the specification, procurement and mobilisation of franchises has been undertaken by the Department for Transport.
The replacement of the South Western rail franchise was the first conducted from start to finish by the Department for Transport. It followed the franchise replacement model refined by the Department for Transport, and demonstrated a commitment to continuous review and improvement. It also adhered to a process that complied with relevant UK and EU legislation and with Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and HM Treasury procurement regulations and practices.
The South Western franchise replacement competition was launched in September 2005, and the new franchise commenced in February 2007. It combined two existing franchises, South West Trains and Island Line, into one. The mainland operations radiate to the south west of London from London Waterloo, and extend towards Woking, Basingstoke, Southampton, Portsmouth, Exeter and Reading. The franchise is dominated by the London commuter market, and this accounts for 45% of the passenger volume.
In the national context, South Western contributes significantly accounting for 15% of the passenger journeys and more than 10% of the fare-box revenue.
This paper reviews the franchise replacement process as applied to the South Western franchise. It sets out the procurement elements of the competition, the development of the specification and the stakeholder consultation exercise conducted, and the process by which bids were evaluated and the contract awarded.
Association for European Transport