§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What provision they are making to require franchised train operators to participate in the concessionary fares scheme administered by passenger transport authorities, passenger transport executives and other local authorities in their respective areas.
The Earl of Caithness
The way such schemes work is by ensuring that the operator of the services suffers no net loss as a result of participating in the scheme.105WA
We therefore expect that passenger railway service operators will be willing to participate on a voluntary basis following privatisation, as British Rail does now.
Nevertheless, under the new clause added to the Railways Bill at Committee stage in respect of fares and discount schemes, every franchise agreement will include a provision requiring the franchise operator to participate in, charge fares in accordance with, and otherwise comply with the requirements of discount fares schemes approved by the franchising director. We also intend to instruct the franchising director to include a provision in franchise agreements which will enable the franchising director to require franchisees to take part in local authority concessionary fares schemes, provided that there is no net cost to the franchisee or the franchising director. It would thus be possible for a local authority which wanted a franchisee to join its scheme to request the franchising director to invoke this provision in the franchise agreement.
It would also be possible for the PTAs/PTEs to seek to include a provision in the franchising agreements to which they are a party requiring the franchisee to join in their concessionary fares schemes.