19 June 2007
Response to Department for Transport Announcement Regarding Agreement to Amend the Gatwick Express and Southern Franchises
Following the announcement by the Department for Transport ("DfT") in April 2007 that the Gatwick Express services were to be incorporated into the Southern franchise from May 2008, Go-Ahead is pleased to confirm that negotiations on the implementation of the change have now been successfully concluded as announced earlier today by the DfT.
The current Gatwick Express franchise will terminate on 22 June 2008 when it will be integrated with the Southern franchise. The Gatwick Express will continue to operate its current service between Gatwick and London Victoria until December 2008 when a new-style service will be introduced. It will retain the same branding and the same frequency, with non-stop service between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria every 15 minutes. However, it will also run beyond Gatwick to Brighton at the busiest times of day, doubling the number of London-Brighton express trains in the high peak. The Gatwick Express franchise is expected to generate annual revenue of approximately £66 million at the outset. As part of the successful negotiations between Southern and the DfT, agreement has been reached on future subsidy payments to Southern which reflect the fact that Gatwick Express pays a premium. Southern will continue to be a subsidised railway under the new arrangements.
The enlarged Southern franchise will now expire in September 2009, three months earlier than planned, so that the major South London timetable changes necessary to accommodate the East London Line extension can be implemented in December 2009.
Keith Ludeman, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said:
"We are delighted to have reached agreement with the DfT on the implementation of this important new franchise which will significantly increase capacity to the benefit of passengers particularly at peak travel times".
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For further information, please contact:
The Go-Ahead Group plc
Keith Ludeman, Group Chief Executive: 020 8929 8650
Ian Butcher, Group Finance Director: 0191 232 3123
Weber Shandwick Financial
Richard Hews/Rachel Taylor/Hannah Marwood 020 7067 0700
Note to Editors:
Govia is the Group's rail division, a joint venture between Go-Ahead (65%) and Keolis SA (35%) which is a French-based operator of passenger transport services in seven European countries and in Canada. Govia operates a fleet of 630 trains on which over 280 million passenger journeys are undertaken. Concentrated in the south east of England both our franchises, Southern and Southeastern, operate a mix of suburban commuter and mainline routes throughout south London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The Southeastern franchise will include the operation of new high speed trains on the domestic Channel Tunnel Rail Link into St Pancras from 2009.
The group's bus division operates over 3,600 buses, providing over 505 million passenger journeys and covering around 236 million vehicle kilometres each year. Operations fall into four main geographical areas: deregulated services in north east; deregulated services in West Midlands; deregulated services in south east / southern England; and regulated services for Transport for London in the capital. The newest additions to this division are Dockland Minibuses and Marchwood buses.
The group's aviation services division undertakes a wide range of support services for national and international airlines. Services provided include cargo handling, passenger check-in, baggage handling, information desks, executive lounges, ground handling and customs clearance. In the last year 45 million passengers were handled as well as over half a million aircraft movements. The division includes Meteor Parking which is the second largest parking company in the UK, managing over 58,000 parking spaces predominantly at BAA airports, with a range of customers, including BAA, local authorities, retail outlets, NHS trusts, hotels and rail stations. Well known brands include 'Pink Elephant', 'Park 1' and 'eparking'.