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DfT response to Stagecoach ‘vague and incomplete’

Updated 12.50

THE Department for Transport has responded to the demand from Stagecoach Group for a ‘prompt, full and transparent response to help restore public confidence’ after three franchise bids from the Group were rejected on the grounds that they attempted to reduce pensions risk.

It had been reported that the deadline was 16.00 on 16 April, but Stagecoach has now clarified that the deadline was actually 24 hours earlier, and that a response has been received.

However, the matter appears to be far from settled.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said: ‘We can confirm we have received a letter from the DfT, which we are reviewing in detail. However, we consider the response to our questions to be both vague and incomplete, leaving many of the fundamental issues and concerns raised by ourselves and other parties unaddressed.’

Stagecoach has been told that its bids for East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast Partnership have all been rejected, because its alternative proposals for pensions were not acceptable to the government.

The full text of the DfT response to Stagecoach has not been published.

It has also been confirmed that Arriva was also barred from bidding for East Midlands, again because it had attempted to reduce the pensions risk, leaving Abellio as the only contender.

Stagecoach has asked that the confirmation of the Abellio award, which would normally follow after a ten-day standstill period, be delayed by a further fourteen days. Again, it is not yet known whether the DfT has agreed to this.

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