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MP Hugh Bayley calls for new look at East Coast franchise
8:21am Monday 8th October 2012 in News
BIDDING for the East Coast Mainline franchise should be stopped in light of the West Coast Mainline fiasco, York Central MP Hugh Bayley has said.
Mr Bayley said that before the franchise was handed over to the private sector, the Government should take the opportunity to compare private and public sector running of rail franchises.
He said: “The Government needs to re-examine the merits of franchising more fundamentally. We on the East Coast have suffered a hiatus twice for collapsed franchise.”
The Government admitted mistakes had been made in the bidding process for the West Coast Main Line franchise and pulled the contract from FirstGroup, which won the bid in August claiming it could run the franchise more efficiently than existing operator Virgin Trains, which subsequently launched a judicial review.
Mr Bayley said: “We should build on the stability that users of the East Coast mainline have had since East Coast took over running it. We need to rigorously evaluate the costs and benefits of a private franchise against a public franchise by comparing the East Coast Mainline with the West Coast Mainline, rather than taking the ideological view that the private sector is best in all circumstances.”
He said East Coast should remain in public sector hands and run for the length of the West Coast Mainline franchise for a fair comparison.