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Top transport employer clinches large Cross Country franchise
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Transport and utilities
Leading UK transport employer Arriva has won the race to run the country's biggest rail franchise, thanks in part to a raft of new innovations it promises to bring to its new service.
The Sunderland-based firm will take over the Cross Country route from Virgin Trains from November this year, running a 1,600 mile service that stretches from Aberdeen to Penzance and includes key routes between Nottingham and Cardiff and from Birmingham to Stansted Airport.
Arriva's successful pitch included plans to increase seating capacity by 35 per cent during peak times by June 2009, to offer at-seat catering to all passengers - not just first class - and to introduce new technological services which allow people to purchase their travel tickets using their mobile phones.
"The Cross Country network has many existing strengths but our research has helped us pinpoint important areas where we can improve the passenger experience and make the business more efficient," said Arriva's chief executive David Martin.
"We are confident of meeting both rising demand and passengers' rising expectations for quality of service," added Mr Martin.
Arriva currently operates in nine different countries across Europe, employing more than 34,000 staff, and has recently also set up a graduate training scheme offering positions in both the management and engineering sections of its business.