Rail contract talks 'promise certainty for staff and customers'
10 December 2020: FirstGroup – parent company of South Western Railway – has announced an agreement of the next steps for SWR, moving it into negotiation with the Department for Transport on a new longer-term directly awarded management contract to follow the end of the current emergency recovery management agreement (ERMA) in March 2021.
Mark Hopwood, SWR interim managing director says: "The DfT have indicated that the new National Rail Contract would last to 1 April 2023 with the possibility to extend for a further two years. As per our agreement entering into the ERMA on 20 September, this agreement was to be expected.
"This is a positive step to providing greater certainty to our staff and customers."
FirstGroup Chief Executive Matthew Gregory says: "We welcome this agreement, which marks a further evolution of the contractual framework for our SWR and Avanti train operating companies, both in the context of providing resilient services throughout the coronavirus pandemic and also a more sustainable long-term approach.
"These new directly awarded management contracts will focus on passengers and operational performance, with a more appropriate balance of risk and reward. We look forward to working constructively with the DfT to make this a reality, and to use our expertise and understanding of the needs of our customers to deliver improvements that we know passengers want.”
Full statement on First Group website