Parliamentary question on rail franchise reform

Transcript from Transport Oral Questions, House of Commons, Thursday 15 September.

Rail Franchises

6. Mr David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con): What recent discussions he has had on reform of rail franchising. [71833]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mrs Theresa Villiers): The Secretary of State has held discussions that cover franchise reform in a number of meetings with rail passenger groups, local authorities, train operators. Network Rail and others.

Mr Evennett: I thank the Minister for her reply. Does she agree that as well as encouraging investment the Government’s franchising policy must be focused on efficiency, which in the long run will ensure that inflation-busting fare increases become a thing of the past?

Mrs Villiers: I completely agree with my hon. Friend. Our rail franchising reform has the dual purpose of promoting private sector investment and delivering better services to passengers and of reducing the cost of running the railways. As I said in answer to the previous question, that is part of the wider strategy of working with the rail industry to get costs down and provide better value for money for