HC Deb 19 July 1996 vol 281 cc680-1W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review on a regular basis under the Railway Acts the provision by the railway operating companies of adequate, prompt and clean railway through services between(a) Holyhead and London and (b) Holyhead and Cardiff; and if he will make a statement. [38565]

Mr. Watts

Under the Railways Act 1993, the franchising director has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of passenger railway services either through franchise agreements, or, where services are not yet franchised, through agreements with the British Railways Board or its subsidiaries.

Levels of service are specified through the passenger service requirement, PSR, included in each franchise agreement. Each PSR is based on the British Rail timetable in operation at the time the PSR is drawn up by the franchising director. Holyhead-Cardiff services are included in the PSR for the South Wales and West franchise, which has now been finalised. This requires the franchise operator to provide on weekdays and Saturdays one through service in each direction between Holyhead and Cardiff. Other services between Holyhead and Crewe, where interchange opportunities exist with services to Cardiff and services between Holyhead and London will be considered as part of the consultation process on respectively the North West Regional Railways and InterCity West Coast PSRs.

In respect of the quality of railway services, a principal objective of the franchising director is to improve the quality of services available to passengers, so franchise operators must have their own passengers charter which sets targets for operational performance. Where the commercial impetus is weak, there are financial incentives to encourage better punctuality and reliability, and a customer satisfaction monitoring regime requires franchise operators to secure an improvement in customer satisfaction during the franchise term.