Outrage from rail unions as Arriva ‘gifted’ new three-year contract
Rail unions have reacted with dismay at the news the government has awarded a three year contract extension to CrossCountry franchise operator Arriva. The German state-backed rail company will now run the service until October 2019.
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “Yesterday’s announcement is yet another reminder that the rail franchising model has failed. It shows that four years on from the West Coast franchise debacle, government rail policy remains in disarray. Direct awards are the new normality in the rail industry and only entrench short termism and under-investment.
“I’m also concerned about management contracts such as GTR Southern where there is not even direct award only public risk. Yesterday’s news highlights the total absence of leadership or guidance in the rail industry. There is only managed decline masquerading under the guise of retrospective investment. When is the government going to start delivering for the taxpayer and travelling public? Safety and security must come before failed dogma.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is a public scandal that Arriva was handed this contract on a plate without UK state owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR) even being considered to run this service. DOR has a proven track record of running services for less money and with any profits being pumped directly back into the UK railway system.
“Instead the German state owned railways, Deutsche Bahn will continue to reap profits at the expense of the long suffering Cross Country passengers.
“This will not represent value for money. The much trumpeted ‘39,000 more seats at peak times’ is an annual figure and in fact amounts to 107 seats per day. This is cold comfort for the hundreds standing in overcrowded trains each day.”