Richard Branson to meet Transport Select Committee
- By Greg Rose -
- Sep 07, 2012
Virgin Trains has backed the decision by the Transport Select Committee to hold a hearing into the West Coast rail franchise competition.
Richard Branson will meet the Transport Select Committee on Monday (September 10th) in London.
The hearing follows widespread concern raised by passengers, MPs and other stakeholders at the decision by the Department for Transport to select FirstGroup as the preferred bidder despite Virgin Trains offering a better deal for passengers and a more secure deal for taxpayers. Virgin’s plans offer a detailed £800m investment programme, delivering new trains, extra routes and even better on-board services.
More than 170,000 people, including thousands of customers who use the West Coast route, have signed an e-petition protesting at the franchise decision. The Department for Transport confirmed yesterday that it had delayed awarding the contract.
Virgin Trains Chief Executive Tony Collins said: “We welcome the Transport Select Committee's decision to call Virgin Rail Group and FirstGroup to a hearing on West Coast Main line next week. This follows the Department's decision to delay the award of the contract. Along with the thousands of customers who signed the e-petition, we hope this will be followed by an independent review of the decision to award the contract to First Group.
“Virgin Trains has submitted a strong and deliverable bid with more commitments on new trains, new routes and new on-board services. We'll spend £800m - and have given a detailed account of how this would build on the huge improvements we've made over the last 15 years. First have made vague promises about spending £350m. Passengers are rightly asking why their voice and priorities appear to have been ignored."
Go to Virgin Trains to find out more.