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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Go Ahead Group wins Dublin Bus contract but loses West Midlands Rail franchise


Go Ahead has won a contract from Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) to operate 24 bus routes in Dublin but they lost the West Midlands rail franchise.


Go-Ahead has been selected as the preferred bidder for the contract relating to the operation of 24 Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus routes in the Dublin metropolitan area. NTA has written to Go-Ahead to inform the company of the decision. Go-Ahead is expected to begin operating some of these routes by the end of November 2018 and all routes by February 2019.

Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority Anne Graham said:

“This is ultimately about improving bus services for Dublin and NTA is confident that passengers will benefit from this decision. We believe that a new operator in the market will bring a fresh dimension to the way that services are offered. Introducing new providers encourages everybody to focus on their customers’ needs and it encourages innovation and improvements to service quality.

“It has also been the experience internationally that introducing some level of competitive tendering into PSO services like this, usually results in a better deal for passengers and for the public in general.

“Under the provisions of the tender, not only will service levels on the routes in question be maintained, they will actually be increased by about 35%. So passengers in areas served by these routes have absolutely no reason to worry about this change. Matters such as fares, frequency and scheduling for the service will all be set by the NTA, and not the operator.

“The contracting model that we are putting in place is the same as the arrangement that we have had in place for years for Luas. Luas is owned by the state and run by Transdev. These routes will be owned by the state and run by Go-Ahead.

“It is also important to note that there is no threat to the Dublin Bus company, or to its workers arising from this decision. There will be no redundancies in Dublin Bus associated with the result of this tender competition.

“As Go-Ahead begins to operate these routes and as Dublin Bus withdraws, the NTA will be building on the frequency of the remaining Dublin Bus routes, something that is needed to meet growing demand. The details, timing and sequencing of these improvements will be a matter for discussion between Dublin Bus and NTA, but there’s absolutely no reason why these changes could not take place in parallel with the transfer of routes to Go-Ahead.

“So ultimately, over the next two years, bus customers in Dublin are going to see a large increase in the number and range of services.”

Go-Ahead were selected as preferred bidder under a competitive public procurement process. Under this process the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (the “MEAT” tender) is identified through detailed assessment which includes a weighted score for price and quality. The weighting ratio between quality considerations and price considerations was 35:65. This was considered by the NTA as the best fit for this competition.

Go-Ahead is an experienced transport operator with operations primarily in the UK. The company is one of the largest bus operators in London and is recognised as one of the most successful consistently achieving high scores in customer service surveys by TfL.

Go-Ahead was established in the late 1980s in North East England with the privatisation of the National Bus Company. It grew through the acquisition of a number of bus companies and expanded into the rail market in the 1990s.

The company’s three core divisions are: Regional UK bus services, accounting for 7% of the UK market; Go-Ahead London services operated on behalf of Transport for London; and Rail.

Go Ahead Group responds to the award:


The Go-Ahead Group is pleased to have been chosen by Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) to operate bus services in the Outer Dublin area. The contract, which is the first open tender process run by the NTA, comprises 24 routes, 125 buses and around 350 drivers. Similar to the structure of Go-Ahead’s bus contracts in London and Singapore, the contract will run for five years, from late 2018, with a possible two year extension.

Go-Ahead Chief Executive, David Brown, said:

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the National Transport Authority to deliver a vital service to people living and working in and around Dublin. Ireland’s economic growth and planned public transport investments offer an exciting opportunity for us as we execute our strategy of targeted expansion into new markets. Drawing on expertise in employee engagement and customer experience gained in cities like London and Singapore, we will provide a service that links communities and takes care of people's journeys.”


Rail passengers will get new longer trains with more seats and more space as nearly £1 billion is invested in services on the West Midlands network.

There will be 400 new carriages rolled out by 2021 and space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services in Birmingham and London, with the longer trains providing extra seats and space for passengers.

Under the deal with West Midlands Trains Ltd (a joint venture between Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd) to run the West Midlands franchise, passengers will get:
  • free wifi on all main line services by the end of 2019
  • for the first time compensation if services are delayed by 15 minutes or more
  • improved access for those requiring extra assistance, including disabled people
  • Smart ticketing and live passenger information will also be rolled out under the deal, as part of a package of reforms that will improve journeys for passengers.

The franchise covers services across the West Midlands, as well as trains from London Euston to Crewe and from Liverpool to Birmingham.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

This is great news for passengers using West Midlands services – with new trains, more space, more regular services and easier access for disabled people.

We are improving the whole travelling experience with live train crowding information, compensation for people delayed by 15 minutes or more, smart ticketing and better value tickets for part-time workers.

This shows we are delivering on our commitment to build a railway that works for everyone.

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said:

“We are delighted to have been announced as preferred bidder for the West Midlands franchise, driving growth in one of the most exciting regions in the country. We will be investing nearly £1 billion into the network, delivering new trains, better stations and a whole host of other benefits for passengers.”

“The trains running only in the West Midlands area will be jointly managed by the Department for Transport and West Midlands Rail (WMR), a consortium of 16 local councils.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“We want to see a new golden era for our local trains and today’s announcement is an important step towards that.”

“Having the ability to use our local knowledge and understanding to shape what West Midlands Trains will deliver for passengers under this franchise has also been a game changer.”

“I believe the deal secured today will help create a railway that can not only improve people’s journeys but keep our economy growing and we look forward to working with West Midlands Trains in making that happen.”

There will be 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers in Birmingham, and 10,000 for people in London.

On top of this, there will be standing room for 50,000 passengers in Birmingham in metro-style carriages, similar to the ones used on the London Overground, for short cross-city journeys, and standing room for an additional 5,000 passengers in London.

The new franchise will see closer partnership working between track and train – delivering the Secretary of State’s vision for the network. The West Midlands network of trains and infrastructure will be run by a local team of people with a commitment to the smooth operation of their routes, improving services and performance.

You can read more on this franchise award here

Go Ahead Group responds to losing their West Midlands franchise.


The Go-Ahead Group is disappointed that its joint venture Govia (Go-Ahead 65%, Keolis 35%) has been unsuccessful in its bid to win the new West Midlands rail franchise.

Go-Ahead Chief Executive, David Brown, said:

“London Midland and its people have been part of our Group’s rail business for ten years. In that time we have delivered significant improvements across the entire network which have seen London Midland transformed into an award-winning franchise with high levels of employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in London Midland for their hard work and contribution to the company’s successes.”
Govia will continue to operate the current contract until December 2017.

Mitsui, JRE, and Abellio UK formed a consortium to win the West Midlands franchise; this is the West Midlands train company structure.



Instead of pasting each press release from each company, you can read them from Mitsui, JRE and Abellio website.

Go Ahead Group still has the Govia Thameslink Railway (Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern) and Southeastern Railway.

We’re still waiting for the franchise award for the South Eastern franchise as Abellio/East Japan Railway Company/Mitsui consortium, Govia, Stagecoach and Trenitalia are shortlisted to bid on the franchise.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

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