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FirstGroup plc statement re. extension of First ScotRail franchise
Thursday 3 April 2008
FirstGroup plc, the UK's leading transport company, today welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that the First ScotRail franchise willbe extended for three years to November 2014.
Commenting on the franchise extension, Moir Lockhead, Group Chief Executive said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Government has taken the decision to extend the First ScotRail franchise for three years.
"Since the start of the franchise in October 2004 we have invested more than £25m in Scotland's railway. More and more people are choosing rail as their preferred means of travel. The number of passengers using First ScotRail services has grown by 19% and performance has improved significantly with delays caused by First ScotRail reduced by 50%.
"Our First ScotRail staff, led by Mary Dickson and her team, work hard to deliver excellent customer service. First ScotRail's commitment to deliver the best service for Scotland every day has driven a programme of continuous improvement and led to this franchise extension."
The agreement creates an investment fund of more than £70m, for control by Transport Scotland, to further improve Scotland's railway. This has been achieved by converting future estimated revenue share payments into an investment fund, in return for a change in First ScotRail's revenue share and support arrangements.
The revenue share and support arrangements have been amended to further incentivise First ScotRail to continue to grow passenger revenue. The fund can be used for additional train services, to improve journey times, connections and quality of services which will bring direct passenger benefits.
Moir Lockhead continued: "This is an exciting time for rail passengers in Scotland with a number of major projects underway including Airdrie-Bathgate services and the Glasgow Airport Rail Link.
"The franchise extension also means that First ScotRail will be operating Scotland's railway during the Commonwealth Games in 2014."
Notes to editors
- FirstGroup was awarded the ScotRail franchise on 20 August 2004.
- The First ScotRail franchise officially commenced on 17 October 2004.
- The initial franchise was awarded for seven years with specified performance targets and a possible three year extension available.
- The First ScotRail franchise is one of the largest in the UK with more than 2000 trains a day and 79 million passenger journeys a year.
- The revenue share and support arrangements have been changed to reflect current revenue levels and the trigger levels have been widened as follows:
a. The 50% share and support trigger level has increased from 2% to 10% of revenue; and
b. The 80% share and support trigger level has increased from 6% to 14% of revenue.
- The agreement introduces a profit sharing mechanism which will make a share of profit in excess of targets available for re-investment in services.
Nick Chevis, Group Finance Director
Stuart Bugg, Corporate Communications Manager
Tel: 020 7291 0514