§ Sir Michael Grylls
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what progress has been made towards implementation of the recommendations contained in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report of December 1990 on rail services in Northern Ireland provided by Northern Ireland Railways Company Ltd. and if he will make a statement.257W
§ Mr. Moss
I have today placed in the Library of the House the third and final response to the report which has been prepared by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland in consultation with Northern Ireland Railways and the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company. I am pleased to confirm that good progress has been made on the implementation of the Monopoly and Mergers Commission's recommendations since this matter was last reported to the House in January 1993. The response now indicates that 31 of the 34 recommendations made by the MMC have been fully implemented and that the remaining three recommendations have been accepted and their implementation is ongoing.
The rail passenger's charter, first published in November 1992, reaffirms NIR's commitment to providing a quality rail service which is safe, efficient, and competitive in satisfying the needs of customers. Monitoring of the charter standards has enabled marketing efforts to be focused on those areas which can be improved as well as those which are considered most important by customers such as reliability, punctuality and cleanliness.
Considerable effort has gone into improving communications within the company and new negotiating and consultative procedures are now in operation. I am confident that the company is dedicated to achieving further improvements in standards, better value for money and the provision of a more attractive service to customers.