The biggest change the rail industry has seen for 25 years will see the creation of a new public body Great British Railways – a single familiar brand with united, accountable leadership.
The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail includes simpler, modern fares delivered starting with new flexible season tickets on sale from June 21, and a new Great British Railways website for all tickets and clearer compensation.
There are also reforms support delivery of a financially sustainable railways as the country recovers from COVID-19, with new contracts focused on punctuality and improved efficiency making it easier and cheaper to plan maintenance, renewal and upgrades.
The ten outcomes laid out in the White Paper are:
- Modern passenger experience – Passengers must receive high-quality, consistent services. More accessible, reliable, well connected journeys and a new customer offers at stations and on trains.
- Retail revolution – simpler, modern ways of paying for travel and straightforward compensation. Clear prices, digital ticketing and flexibility will underpin this transformation.
- New ways of working with the private sector – Passenger Service Contracts will replace franchising. New opportunities for innovators, suppliers (including small and local partners) and funders will be created through streamlined contracts and more contestability.
- Economic recovery and financially sustainable railways -The railways are a public service, paid for by taxpayers and passengers. Bringing together responsibility for cost and revenue in Great British Railways will ensure the railways become more financially sustainable.
- Greater control for local people and places – Railways will be more responsive to the needs of local communities. Empowered, locally-led teams will support improvements and be accountable to the people and places they serve.
- Cleaner, greener railways – Railways will spearhead the nation’s ambition to become a world leader in clean, green transport. Decarbonisation, greater biodiversity and improvements in air quality will ensure rail is a cleaner public transport network.
- New opportunities for freight – National co-ordination offering greater flexibility and responsiveness will create new opportunities for rail freight. Modern contracts will ensure the sector continues to keep goods moving and delivering vital economic and environmental benefits.
- Increased speed of delivery and efficient enhancements – Restoring lost rail links and accelerating the delivery of critical upgrades to the network will support new economic growth and connectivity across our nations and regions.
- Skilled, innovative workforce – A culture of collaboration, strengthening leadership and enhancing the skills of people working across the sector are vital to delivering a better service for passengers. High-value and fulfilling opportunities for staff will ensure they can best serve the needs of customers.
- Simpler industry structure – A ‘guiding mind’ for the system delivered by ‘Great British Railways’, which will be organised around regional railways. People, culture and incentives will focus on serving all customers, with clear accountability, better decision-making and a single financial system. A 30-year strategy will enable the sector to transform and modernise efficiently.
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