§ Mr. Livsey
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to ensure that the information services provided at railway stations are improved. 
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
The Government are reviewing the regulation of the railway as part of our overall review of transport policy, and our proposals for the long-term reform of the railway will be published in our White Paper later in the year. In the interim, the Government have issued the Franchising Director with revised objectives, instructions and guidance which require him to secure a progressive improvement in the quality of passenger and station services and to manage existing franchise agreements in a manner which promotes passengers' interests.
The existing franchise agreements require operators to meet minimum station standards, which include the provision of communication and information systems within three years of taking over the franchise. Therefore these standards must be implemented during 1999 in 178W respect of the first franchises to be awarded in 1996. Some operators are achieving higher standards than those specified within a shorter timescale.