Rail passengers in East Anglia are on track for more comfortable and convenient journeys thanks to a range of measures to be introduced on the region’s rail network, Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has announced today (20 October 2011).
Abellio Greater Anglia Limited has been chosen as the new operator for the ‘Greater Anglia’ franchise which is currently operated by National Express East Anglia and stretches across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. It will be part of the transport provision for the London 2012 Games, serving the Olympic Park area. Under the terms of the deal, the new operator will carry out a range of improvements during the 29 month contract. These will include improvements to stations, new ticket facilities and better passenger information. In addition, the majority of the train fleet will be ‘deep-cleaned’, some will be refurbished and more carriages will be fitted with CCTV.
Theresa Villiers said:
This new franchise will start delivering important improvements for passengers, with more to come in the longer contract that will follow it. The franchise will also play a significant role in transport for the London 2012 games providing crucial services to the Olympic Park area.
We want to make it easier for passengers to use the railways so the new operator will extend Oyster pay-as-you-go services to 10 stations on the Shenfield and Hertford East lines and introduce mobile phone and print-at-home ticketing facilities. Passengers will also get better access to information as the new operator is introducing a text messaging service to keep passengers informed if disruption occurs and new information desks at major stations including Liverpool Street, Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich and Stansted Airport.
Other improvements to be delivered by the new franchise include:
- a new cycle hire scheme at Norwich station and cycle storage points at 15 stations, including space for 500 bicycles at Chelmsford
- up to 300 new car parking spaces, plus a further 300 at Shenfield and Wickford stations, subject to planning approval
- cleaning and painting of 141 stations across the franchise
Notes for editors
Other improvements to be made by the new operator will include updates to existing ticket machines to make them more user-friendly, the installation of 28 new ticket machines at stations across the network and the introduction of online season ticketing.
Oyster pay-as-you-go will be extended to cover the following stations: Theobalds Grove, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Brentwood, Shenfield, Broxbourne, Rye House, St Margarets, Ware and Hertford East.
Car drivers will see improvements with the provision of a total of 300 new car parking spaces at specific stations (subject to planning approvals). Meanwhile 300 new parking spaces will be provided at Shenfield and Wickford stations (subject to planning approvals) while 100 pay and display machines in station car parks will be replaced. The new operator will also be required to install electrical car points at 20 stations.
The new operator will also run a 6 month trial of a scheduled bus service between Saffron Walden and Audley End station, the introduction of a PlusCab service that will allow customers to book a taxi from 45 stations with pre-agreed fares based on a zonal pricing structure and a complimentary refreshments service for first class passengers on the London to Norwich and Stansted Express services.
Information desks will be built at Cambridge, Norwich and Stansted Airport, and 6 new kiosks will be built at Bishops Stortford, Chelmsford, Colchester (2), Ipswich and Stratford. A new information desk will also be installed at Liverpool Street station.
Two new customer panels will be established and the new operator will also recruit a team of multi-lingual volunteers to provide information to customers in or around affected stations during the Olympics and Paralympics. Meanwhile a Smartphone App specifically for the Olympics will be developed which will provide real-time service information and directions to stations.
A total of 141 stations will be refreshed and the whole the train fleet will be deep cleaned (except the class 379s), including all surfaces and floor coverings, toilets and lighting. In addition the interior of the class 321 units will be refreshed and CCTV will be fitted to 68 class 321 vehicles.
Although Abellio Greater Anglia Limited has been announced as the winning bidder for the franchise, they will not be formally appointed until 1 November because of the requirement for a procurement standstill period.
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