Lunacy as Arriva is taken over by DB

22 April 2010

‘Another perfect example of the lunacy of the franchising system’ is how Keith Norman, ASLEF’s general secretary, greeted today’s news that German firm Deutsche Bahn is to take over Arriva in a deal worth £1.59bn.

‘Look at this series of events,’ Keith says.

‘An announcement is made that the CrossCountry and Wales franchises are to be let.

‘The Department for Transport, which itself spends over £8 million a year ‘designing and tendering’ rail franchises, sets to work defining the details of the franchise. This is all, incidentally, money that could have been spent improving our railways.

‘Then the bidding companies line the pockets of lawyers, accountants and consultants as they spend between £1million and £4 million each to get their bids in place.’

‘At the end of this exhaustive, expensive and wasteful exercise, Arriva is given the right to run these franchises.

‘Later, however, they decide to sell it – and it’s picked up by Deutsche Bahn – who’ve had nothing to do with any bidding process whatsoever!

‘It’s utter madness.’

Keith says his union has had messages of support from ‘across the political spectrum’ for ASLEF plans to launch a cooperative bid for the East Coast mainline. ‘The general consensus is that passengers and staff alike are sick of a system that puts money into private pockets that could be used to improve the railway.’

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