FirstGroup’s chief executive Tim O’Toole said “Our bid also delivers value for taxpayers by returning premiums to the government underpinned by sustainable growth in passenger numbers and revenues from the utilisation of significant available capacity.”
It’s interesting to see how this ties in with the Department for Transport’s insistence that HS2 is necessary because of lack of capacity on the current WCML.
Following on from last year’s passenger survey, which showed that peak hour long distance services from Euston only had 56% passenger loadings, the Dft have refused Freedom of Information requests to disclose the official loading numbers. The Dft claimed that due to the WCML franchise bid, this information was commercially sensitive. Now that the bid has been completed there can be no more concerns on their part about revealing the data.
In addition, FirstGroup plan to speed up train times between London and Glasgow by 15 minutes, again cutting into the case for HS2.