'hidden' plan to reward train companies for cutting services

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SRUG joins campaign to seek proper consultation on Government’s plans to give train companies a financial incentive to cut train services. A Department for Transport plan to give train companies a financial incentive to cut services has come under attack.

Fifty organisations have signed a letter to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis saying the plan could have a very serious impact on passengers.
Cat Hobbs, from Campaign for Better Transport said: 'The Department is trying to pave the way for rail cuts. We've asked why this hidden proposal isn't subject to formal consultation and we've received no reply yet.'
The groups have called on the DfT to consult formally on the proposal, disputing the allegation that it is only of 'technical interest' to the industry.
Jim Jenkins, Chair of Better Trains for Chepstow, said:  'We are strongly opposed to the move to reduce the protection of passenger franchises. Our experience is that the management of the franchises needs to be firmer. Our elected representatives and local communities need to have more control over our services, not less.'
Denis Fryer, South Hampshire Rail User Group, said: 'Lots of medium sized towns could have their services cut. This would make rail a much less attractive option for people. It could have a big impact on people who take the train to work.'
Eileen Conn, Southwark Rail Users' Group, said: 'We need a strong franchising process for the kinds of improvements we want to secure for our Cinderella local overground rail services in South London.'
Here is CBT's report on  the Government's response: from http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/public_transport/rail/blog  1st June 2010

Government mustn't introduce rail cuts under the radar

1 June: We recently objected to a Department for Transport plan to give train companies a financial incentive to cut services, together with 50 other organisations.
The Department has replied to our letter, saying that they'd made a mistake - many train companies already have this incentive! They did not respond to our call for a formal, public consultation on changes to rail franchising policy. (So far, they've only talked informally to train companies.)
We've written back, asking for more information on the incentive and calling for a consultation on any changes being proposed so that passengers can have their say.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond is expected to discuss cutting costs with train operators this week, so we'll keep putting the pressure on for passengers' interests to be met. Services must be maintained - and fares must be affordable.
Letter from Department for Transport - page 1
Letter from Department for Transport - page 2
CBT reply to Department for Transport