Arriva, FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach, have dropped their lawsuit against the government. They were attempting to recover the cost of their bids but have suddenly dropped their case.
The chief executive for National Express, Dean Finch, told the Telegraph that he felt all the companies were ‘morally in the right’; a Stagecoach spokeswoman said the firm would ‘support moves to get franchising back on track and deliver the planned extensions to our franchises’; and Arriva said: ‘Following the stay in proceedings we have considered the DfT’s response and have decided not to pursue the matter further.’
It’s all very mysterious, and we can only imagine that the DfT’s ‘response’ was one of the most persuasive things ever written, because these train companies were extremely unhappy when it all first kicked off. Perhaps they’ve given in because Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced earlier this week that the government is granting extensions on the contracts for 12 rail franchises. And they slept on it for a couple of days.
To learn more about exactly how the franchise bidding process was botched, click here for MT’s previous coverage.