Bondholder East Midlands Trains, Britain's most punctual long-distance train operator, will benefit from around £13m of investment under a new agreement between Stagecoach Group and the Department for Transport (DfT).
The new franchise will run from October this year until at least March 2018, with the DfT having the option to extend the contract for a further year.
Benefits shall include:
- Better value fares with a freeze on all Anytime fares to London until 2017 and 250,000 discounted Advanced Purchase tickets available through its biggest ever sale;
- A new mobile app, upgraded 4G connectivity on trains plus 15 minutes of free WiFi on London Trains as well as new smartphones for customer-facing staff;
- Faster refunds through an online automated system;
- Cleaner stations and trains with extra cleaning staff;
- Accessibility improvements with new in-house disability expert and £1m investment in station accessibility;
- Improved on-board service with a shop on many peak time services to/from London and complimentary First Class breakfast extended to include selected Saturday morning services for the first time;
- More seats and faster journeys;
- Community engagement with the extension of the community rail programme supported by an extra £250,000 in funding and a new Partnerships Manager;
- Investment in people - more frontline staff to help customers enhanced customer service training for employees; providing more opportunities for graduates and young people.