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Supported by the West Midlands Rail Vision, WMR has set out its goals and objectives for rail devolution.
Through gaining greater influence and control over the local rail network, it will be able to deliver its key outputs, known as the five "5Cs":
Providing for increasing rail passenger numbers and facilitating economic growth
Aligning rail services with changing market and economic requirements and providing seamless integration between rail and other transport modes
Delivering a high-performing, quality rail service which is accessible to all
Providing a coherent, readily understandable and "smart" network of rail services, fares and information
Delivering an efficient, competitive rail service which provides value for money for both taxpayers and passengers
West Midlands Rail is seeking the following strategic outcomes from rail devolution for the West Midlands:
Better for the Economy
To deliver rail services that provide the connectivity and capacity to drive economic growth, meeting current and future market needs and supporting future rail and wider investment programmes, particularly HS2.
Better for Passengers
To deliver an affordable and easy-to-use local rail network that delivers distinctive, high-quality rail services and stations that meet the needs of current and future passengers.
Better for Taxpayers
To use a local management focus to drive better value for money for taxpayers, with effective mechanisms in place that encourage innovation and efficiency in the delivery of services, with benefits being reinvested back into the network.
Better for the Region
To create a structure for the delivery of rail services that is truly focused on the needs of the West Midlands, promotes partnership working across all authorities with strong local accountability and allows the benefits of rail to be spread across the whole region.
Better for the Environment
To ensure that rail can fully play its part in supporting low carbon and other environmental objectives within the West Midlands
From the new West Midlands franchise, WMR is seeking an operator that delivers:
Serve the needs of all West Midlands economic centres, connecting people with employment, retail and leisure opportunities, building on existing service levels to create service patterns that are aligned with current and emerging travel demands, particularly early mornings, evenings and Sundays. Extend existing services to serve new markets by creating direct opportunities, and provide customer-friendly clock face timetables. Create an operationally efficient franchise, working in partnership with WMR to reinvest savings to create a better railway for the region.
Catering for Growth
Incrementally provide appropriate capacity to meet growing demand whilst maintaining and improving passenger comfort and the standard of rolling stock deployed. Deliver extra capacity when required to cater for the additional demand requirements of special events.
Better Stations and Access
Support the creation of a new approach to the management of stations that recognises and nurtures their important role in the community they serve. Actively seek the engagement and involvement of the local community, developing a flexible model that maximises the potential for stations to better serve their local area, with facilities and services to match. Support the development of a safe and accessible network that is available for all members of the community. Create effective modal interchanges that positively encourage modal shift, including sustainable modes such as walking and cycling. Deliver digital connectivity through the provision of free Wi-Fi for passengers at stations and on train.
Easy to Use
Build on the West Midlands Rail brand to create a recognisable and lasting identity for local rail services in the West Midlands. Access to the network is to be easy and intuitive, with simple, flexible ticketing, a region-wide zonal fare structure and smart ticketing that encourages travel between modes across the region. Create a coherent, easy to use network that looks beyond the services operated by this franchise and recognises that the effectiveness of the network is greater than the sum of its parts. Develop an approach to the marketing of services that focuses effort on maximising value for the local economy and promoting travel for tourism across the region.
High Quality Network
Deliver a dependably high standard of train performance for passengers, creating a network that is among the leaders in the UK rail industry. Create a customer service culture that values high standards of staff availability, visibility and attitude, together with excellent passenger information, particularly when things go wrong. Implement effective service quality regimes aimed at delivering a consistently high standard of customer experience, reducing ticketless travel and driving improved NRPS results.
Provide a locally-based management team, focused on developing a positive culture that seeks to build employee engagement through strong relationships. Collaborate with WMR to build a strong, mutually beneficial partnership based on openness and the sharing of information, actively engaging to develop new and improved services, and better passenger facilities. Innovation across all areas of the franchise is expected to be a key feature, maximising benefits for passengers and the local economy from digital technology.