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Author Topic: First / MTR win South Western franchise 2017 - 2024, and CMA raises competition concerns (merged topic)  (Read 48415 times)
Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #195 on: July 12, 2017, 03:15:23 pm »

First is my bet too, don't know why, just a hunch.
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Southernman
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« Reply #196 on: July 12, 2017, 11:11:46 pm »

I'm of the believe the railway are not competing with each other.
Is it really a competing route?
To me natex and megabus are the competition.
I tend to disagree! WAT-EXD has enticed a goodly number of longer distance passengers away from GWR, mainly on price but also on frequency (to Yeovil) and general reliability. Sure, bus (limited) and car are competitors and rarely do rail services compete (this case being an exception to the rule!).
But its not only about fares. Its about keeping up standards and maintenance. If First do retain the Greater Western franchise, surely its better to have agreements in writing to refer back to? No, I only expect to see agreement on a cap on fare increases.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #197 on: July 13, 2017, 10:29:52 am »

But, hypothetically speaking, what if the new GWR franchise had a prospective Newbury, Westbury, Taunton service with a station at Langport/Somerton. Might that abstract from Crewkerne and Yeovil?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #198 on: July 13, 2017, 10:37:13 am »

Also, they might push up the fares / restrict heavily the Advance fares on the GWR mainline as far as EXD, pushing those on a limited budget to having to use the SWT line to EXD. Could work both ways.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #199 on: July 13, 2017, 11:23:16 am »

But, hypothetically speaking, what if the new GWR franchise had a prospective Newbury, Westbury, Taunton service with a station at Langport/Somerton. Might that abstract from Crewkerne and Yeovil?


Those I know, myself included, living in the Langport/Somerton area, almost always access the rail network through Castle Cary.
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« Reply #200 on: July 14, 2017, 09:04:07 am »

I'm of the believe the railway are not competing with each other.
Is it really a competing route?
To me natex and megabus are the competition.
I tend to disagree! WAT-EXD has enticed a goodly number of longer distance passengers away from GWR, mainly on price but also on frequency (to Yeovil) and general reliability. Sure, bus (limited) and car are competitors and rarely do rail services compete (this case being an exception to the rule!).
But its not only about fares. Its about keeping up standards and maintenance. If First do retain the Greater Western franchise, surely its better to have agreements in writing to refer back to? No, I only expect to see agreement on a cap on fare increases.
Perhaps some figures might illustrate how passenger growth has increased (Gillingham to Yeovil Jct when compared to Castle Cary's over the past 5 years. Figures rounded to '000s and are Entry/Exits combined from official releases). Have chosen these stations as they are the ones most likely to have enticed potential GWR passengers away from Castle Cary.

Castle Cary 241 (245, 245, 234, 275)
Gillingham 426 (423, 416, 408, 425)
Templecombe 115 (114, 107,113, 107)
Sherborne 221 (216, 203, 205, 195)
Yeovil Jct 223 (215, 212, 198, 207)

This shows a slight decrease at Castle Cary in the last 3 years and steady growth at all the others.

Hence I firmly believe there is a true alternative (rival) to the Paddington route.

Who knows what might happen in the future but with the general lack of money and uncertainty it is a pretty good bet that (apart from resilience work) not much in the way of costly infrastructure improvement is likely in the short term.
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Timmer
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« Reply #201 on: July 14, 2017, 09:18:50 am »

I think with new trains starting to serve Castle Cary and no replacement planned for the 159s on the Waterloo-Exeter line during the new franchise, that could see numbers rising on the Paddington line from Castle Cary. It's a shame as the Waterloo-Exeter line has so much potential with further redoubling and new rolling stock.
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grahame
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« Reply #202 on: July 14, 2017, 09:39:57 am »

It strikes me that the competition element isn't so much between London and Exeter but rather in the intermediate areas, where people are rail-heading to one line or the other and will choose based on such things as

Price

Frequency

Length of journey

Where abouts in London their final destination is

Convenience to them of the station in Somerset - distance, availability of parking or transport there

There may be few changes coming on the line via Honiton, but the line via Castle Cary (intermediate trains) switch from the current irregular pattern to - we hear - a regular two-hourly service with 5 car IEP units in about 18 months.   No great secret that they'll be seeking passengers at the station along the way to help fill seats.   I wonder if / how Heart of Wessex services will connect into this radically updated timetable / what the offerings from Yeovil (where Pen Mill is within the urban sprawl) will be. A change at Castle Cary, Bruton, Frome or Westbury every 2 hours may compare well for some with the need to get out of town to the junction station.
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grahame
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« Reply #203 on: July 26, 2017, 12:32:41 pm »

Were we aware of this CMA consultation on the Coffee Shop?   Lotta pages on this thread, so a reminder here and about 2 weeks left to answer.    Web site says "updated 24th July"

Quote
... the CMA is currently running a public consultation in relation to the undertakings First Group and MTR have proposed in order to remedy the competition concerns identified on the London to Exeter route.
 
Details of the consultation are available on our website at: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/firstgroup-and-mtr-south-western-rail-franchise-merger-inquiry. The consultation is open until 8 August.
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paul7755
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« Reply #204 on: July 26, 2017, 01:20:33 pm »

I think First/MTR have already come up with the solution, accepting that the SWT route will have to be regulated at current levels.  It came up in the Telegraph a week ago.

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Now the pair have offered to cap unregulated fares between London and Exeter on both South Western trains, which run from Waterloo, and its Great Western services from Paddington.

The caps will be imposed by linking them to prices on a number of other comparable routes, the CMA said, adding that the rail companies had also proposed maintaining the availability of cheaper advance fares on both lines, again based on prices of similar routes.

The CMA said it thought there were “reasonable grounds” to think the proposals, or a version of them, would remedy its concerns.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/19/exeter-london-rail-fare-caps-mooted-first-group-appease-competition/

Paul
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ChrisB
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« Reply #205 on: July 26, 2017, 02:21:25 pm »

It did get mentioned somewhere when the CMA announced that they were minded to refer for a full investigation.

As long as *both* routes to EXD are linked & controlled, I'm happy.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #206 on: July 31, 2017, 08:53:32 pm »


This is from the First/MTR staff site, explaining how they will speed up the W of E service

How are we increasing the services and cutting down journey times of the west of England line?
Services are currently planned to wait outside Waterloo in the direction towards Waterloo and from Waterloo outside Salisbury for other services, by changing the timetable we will be able to remove this time. We are also reviewing the station dwell times at Basingstoke and Woking. This proposal is subject to consultation once the new franchise has started.


However, does the increase in seating mean that first class will go?
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Timmer
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« Reply #207 on: July 31, 2017, 10:10:19 pm »


However, does the increase in seating mean that first class will go?
Unlikely, First is well used on this route.
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paul7755
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« Reply #208 on: August 01, 2017, 11:28:11 am »

I have a feeling that at least some of the planned increase in seating on the Salisbury and Exeter trains must come from finally removing the few remaining DMU diagrams that operate on other routes - the most obvious being the Lymington shuttle, but there are still a few other peak DMU services away from the main west of England line.

If they can divert 5 or 6 vehicles to strengthen a couple of peak trains to and from Salisbury then that is a single figure percentage increase straightaway...

Paul
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Timmer
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« Reply #209 on: August 01, 2017, 12:40:57 pm »

I have a feeling that at least some of the planned increase in seating on the Salisbury and Exeter trains must come from finally removing the few remaining DMU diagrams that operate on other routes - the most obvious being the Lymington shuttle, but there are still a few other peak DMU services away from the main west of England line.

If they can divert 5 or 6 vehicles to strengthen a couple of peak trains to and from Salisbury then that is a single figure percentage increase straightaway...

Paul
They are due to be getting the daily hired out unit to GWR back soon?
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