Virgin and Stagecoach Banned from Franchise Bidding?

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Virgin and Stagecoach Banned from Franchise Bidding?

Post by Jeff Smith » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:02 pm

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ban- ... -0xthztbhj

Going to move this over to Worldwide, but wanted a shadow topic here in Virgin. Article behind a paywall, but these are the first paragraphs from the intro.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, appears to have washed his hands of responsibility for the banning of Stagecoach and Virgin from the railways amid an escalating row over pensions.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is the subject of a judicial review brought by Stagecoach, which has been Britain’s biggest train operator, after its bids for future franchises were deemed “non-compliant” with tendering rules.

Stagecoach fell into dispute with the department over what it has called unquantifiable, open-ended pension liabilities that bidders were being asked to sign up to at a time when the rail industry pension scheme is £7 billion in deficit, with no plan as yet in place to plug the financial black hole.

The DfT’s “non-compliant” ruling effectively bars Stagecoach as well as…

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David Benton
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Re: Virgin and Stagecoach Banned from Franchise Bidding?

Post by David Benton » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:57 am

I would say the 7 billion pound hole goes back to the carve up of British Rail, with the new operators not wanting to take on legacy pension payments.
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ExCon90
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Re: Virgin and Stagecoach Banned from Franchise Bidding?

Post by ExCon90 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:00 pm

Wouldn't other potential bidders have the same concern? What if they had an auction and nobody came?

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Re: Virgin and Stagecoach Banned from Franchise Bidding?

Post by David Benton » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:38 am

https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2019/07 ... arket.html

"Virgin’s bid for the next West Coast franchise, in partnership with Stagecoach and SNCF, was disqualified in April because it attempted to reduce the risks associated with funding pensions"

"The DfT, responding to Sir Richard’s remarks, said: ‘We are sorry to see Virgin leave the UK rail industry having failed to put forward a compliant bid. Other companies have done so and the remaining bidders in current competitions clearly see an ability to be entrepreneurial on the railways. The recent winning bid on the East Midlands franchise accepted the pensions terms "

I guess we need a superannuation expert to figure out what this all means. But if everyone has to bid based on the same terms , then it seems fair to me.
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The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

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