Arriva quits Wales
Current franchise holder withdraws from bidding for new Wales & Borders deal due to start next year.
ARRIVA has withdrawn its bid to run the next Wales & Borders franchise, which is due to start in October 2018.
It the first time that a franchise holder has withdrawn in this way from a bid.
In a statement, Arriva Trains Wales Managing Director Tom Joyner said: “We have been notified that Arriva Group have withdrawn from the bidding process for the next Wales and Borders franchise. Our key priority following this announcement is to continue to focus on the delivery of our services for the people and communities that depend on us for the remainder of the current franchise, including a £1million Arriva Trains Wales investment in additional trains which will be introduced in 2018.
“We will continue to work closely with our government and industry partners to support them with the delivery of their priorities.”
RAIL understands that Arriva has major concerns around bid costs: specifically bid risk, unease about the balance between risk and return and difficulties over their detailed evaluation.
The remaining bidders are Abellio Rail Cymru, Keolis-Amey and MTR Corporation (Cymru).
A Transport for Wales spokesman said: “Arriva Rail Wales has notified Transport for Wales that it intends to withdraw from the bidding process. It is not uncommon for bidders for major projects to withdraw during the tender process and Arriva has been clear that it has done this for its own commercial reasons.
“The procurement process is a tough and demanding one and we recognise Arriva’s extensive work to date. We would like to thank the company for its support and positive attitude since the procurement started and we will continue to work closely with the company to ensure that existing staff and customers are central to our transition planning over the next 12 months. With final tenders due later this year, we have three companies with world-class credentials, each putting their own distinct cases for how they will deliver the ambitious objectives we set, with the goal of delivering a step-change in rail services for passengers across Wales and the Borders.”
The RMT has criticised Arriva’s decision, with General Secretary Mick Cash saying: “This decision by Arriva to abandon their operations in Wales exposes the whole flaky and opportunist nature of the rail franchising process. They appear to have pulled out because they can’t make enough money, which is extraordinary. This news presents a golden opportunity for the Welsh to take back control of their railways through public ownership and that opportunity should be seized with both hands.”
Arriva Trains Wales 175001 stands at Crewe on November 12 2016, with the 1107 Carmarthen-Manchester Piccadilly. Arriva has withdrawal from the bidding process for the new Wales & Borders franchise.