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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The £50M Rail Fare

Thanks to the West Coast rails shambles, akin to a Whitehall farce, the hapless taxpayers will be saddled with with a bill of at least £50M.

The £5BN contract, which was originally awarded to FirstGroup, had to be scrapped following complaints by Virgin Trains about the process; Virgin have been allowed to continue operating the service until November 2014.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have published a report today that castigates the whole shoddy process. Margaret Hodge, chairman, in fact warned that the final cost “will be very much larger” after taking into account investment delays and the knock-on effect on other rail franchise operators.

She is quoted by the Telegraph:
The franchising process was littered with basic errors. Senior management did not have proper oversight of the project. Cuts in staffing and in consultancy budgets contributed to a lack of key skills.”
PAC accused the Transport Department of having a “blinkered and rushed approach meant the competition was not run properly”.

The question is, will the Transport Department learn from these mistakes and do better next time?

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