Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the news that the government has awarded the West Coast Partnership franchise and HS2 operations to First Group, said:
“Awarding a complex contract for both the West Coast Partnership and HS2 services to First Group, a company with questions over its finances, is a gross error of judgement. The ghost of Chris Grayling’s rank incompetence haunts our rail services as the new Transport Secretary Grant Shapps follows his predecessor in putting private profit before passengers and the public interest.
“The government cancelled the Southeastern rail franchise competition just last week, admitting that the rail franchising process will not deliver for passengers or the taxpayer. It’s time for our railways to be brought into public ownership so they are run in the interests of passengers instead of ripping them off to line the pockets of profiteers and shareholders.”