OPERATORS WARY OF NEW DIRECT AWARDS

News Front

Negotiations run past deadline as OLR transfer looms

NRC negotiations ongoing: South Western Railway’s Nos 444038/020 pass Old Basing with a Woking to Poole/Fareham service on 24 January 2021; the train started from Woking due to adverse weather conditions. 
Chris Wilson

NEGOTIATIONS OVER the termination of pre-existing franchise agreements and the transition from Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) to directly awarded contracts have passed the deadline set by the Department for Transport.

When it announced the ERMAs in September 2020 to succeed the Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) introduced at the start of the pandemic, the aim was to reach agreement with operators to terminate pre-existing franchises by December. This was subsequently extended to January, but in early February negotiations with four operators were still ongoing with a new deadline of the end of March, with FirstGroup/MTR’s South Western Railway franchise thought to be the only operator for which a termination fee had so far been agreed.

Appearing before the House of Commons Transport Committee on 3 February, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that transition payment settlements had been agreed with six operators.

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