The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that from 4 November Passenger Service Contracts (PSCs) will be introduced for all rail operators.
As part of the Williams-Shapps plan for rail, the PSCs will replace the old franchising system where each operator would set timetables, fares and collected revenues on its part of the network.
According to the government, the new system will enhance collaboration among all parts of the industry, public and private.
“Our plan for rail will deliver the most significant reforms to our railways in a generation,” said rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris.
“Unlocking the expertise, investment and ingenuity of the private sector – including new and ambitious market entrants – is vital to delivering the reforms that put passengers first.”
The first session will enable old and new operators to understand better the system and have their say in the development of contracts.
The change from the franchising to the PSC system is one of the innovations introduced by the William-Shapps plan, which was unveiled in May 2021.
The plan’s biggest disruption was ending 30 years of fragmentation, bringing together the country’s railway network under one public body, Great British Railways (GBR). As outlined by the secretary, GBR will own the network’s infrastructure, collect revenues and plan operations, standardising ticketing.