UK: Stagecoach Group confirmed on July 7 that the Department for Transport had ended discussions for a new direct award franchise at South West Trains which would have covered the period from February 2017 to at least April 2019.

DfT had informed Stagecoach as far back as March 2013 of its intention to agree a direct award, but according to the company negotiations had been ‘disappointingly slow’. South West Trains had submitted proposals, but Stagecoach said ‘despite extensive negotiations, a significant difference has remained between both parties regarding the financial evaluation of the proposals’, and ‘as a result, South West Trains has been unable to reach an agreement on a direct award.’

DfT will therefore invite competitive tenders for a new long-term franchise starting some time in 2017.

Meanwhile, Stagecoach said DfT had indicated its intention to exercise an existing option to extend the current South West Trains franchise beyond February 2017 until ‘no later than August 2017’.

  • Stagecoach said ‘constructive’ discussions are continuing at East Midlands Trains for a direct award for a period of at least two years.