GREAT BRITISH OVERHAUL: British rail to get biggest shakeup in over 25 years
The government has announced the biggest shakeup in rail in 25 years with the creation of a new public body.
Great British Railways (GBR) will integrate the railways, running and planning the network, and setting most fares and timetables. GBR will simplify ticketing and see the roll-out of more convenient Pay As You Go and digital ticketing.
A new GBR website will sell tickets and a single compensation system for operators in England will provide a simple system for passengers to access information and apply for refunds.
There will remain a substantial and often greater role for the private sector. GBR will contract private partners to operate most trains to the timetables and fares it specifies, with a model similar to that used by Transport for London in its successful Overground and Docklands Light Railway services.
The new Passenger Service Contracts will include strong incentives for operators to run high-quality services and increase passenger numbers. They will not be one-size-fits-all: as demand recovers, operators on some routes, particularly long-distance, will have more commercial freedom. Affordable walk-on fares and season ticket prices will be protected.
The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, published today, sets out the path towards a truly passenger-focused railway, underpinned by new contracts that prioritise punctual and reliable services, the rapid delivery of a ticketing revolution, with new flexible and convenient tickets and long-term proposals to build a modern, greener and accessible network.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am a great believer in rail, but for too long passengers have not had the level of service they deserve. By creating Great British Railways and investing in the future of the network, this government will deliver a rail system the country can be proud of.”
Unions though have warned the plans aren’t the right ones.
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