Devolve Wales’ rail franchise – AMs
9:56am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
THE way in which the company who runs the bulk of Wales’ railway services should be in the hands of Wales, a cross-party group of AMs have said.
The Assembly’s Enterprise and Business committee has called on the Welsh Government to continue to lobby politicians in Westminister so it can become responsible for the next Wales and Borders rail franchise.
It was one of a number of requests made in a charter from the committee which said the Welsh Government should ensure it has sufficient resources and staff in place to develop the new franchise.
Nick Ramsay, Monmouth AM for the enterprise and business committee, said: “We believe that there is a real opportunity for the Welsh Government to shape a service that will respond to the needs of passengers in the Wales and Borders area.
“By establishing strict requirements for stations, facilities and performance monitoring, as well as financial transparency regarding profits and subsidies, the next franchise has the potential to significantly improve rail services for passengers while delivering value for money.
“We also want to see a franchise which is integrated with other public transport services including the proposed South Wales Metro and bus infrastructure.”
The next franchise is due to begin in 2018.
The charter calls on the Welsh Government to continue to lobby the UK for the necessary powers and requisite funding to be devolved so that the Welsh Government is responsible for specifying and procuring the next Wales and Borders Franchise.
AMs also call for the development and publication as a matter of urgency of a strategy on rolling stock – the trains that operate services.
The charter says this would be not only to ensure pressing decisions on rolling stock compatibility for electrification and legislation on accessibility are taken in good time, but also to enhance future capacity and quality of trains for the long term.
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