I dont normally cover anything with South West Trains but they do work into Devon . The rail francise is currently run by Stagecoach but the operation. The Department for Transport has started consulting on the specification for a new South Western rail franchise to start in 2017. Consultation is currently taking place with passengers, businesses and local councils on their views on the next franchise and ran until 9 February 2016. The current franchise is operated by South West Trains, and covers urban, suburban, regional, and long-distance routes between London Waterloo, Reading, Bristol, Exeter, Weymouth, and Portsmouth. It also includes the Island Line on the Isle of Wight
First Group Joint Bid
FirstGroup is pleased to announce that MTR Corporation (UK) will join the Group in a joint venture to bid for the South Western rail franchise, following the assent of the Department for Transport.
Commenting, Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director said:
"We are pleased that we will be partnering with MTR in a joint venture to bid for the South Western rail franchise, for which we were shortlisted in February 2016. We have extensive expertise of running commuter, inter-urban, regional and long distance services – such as those that make up the South Western franchise – and a strong track record in delivering passenger growth. MTR run successful suburban and commuter railways; their knowledge from running London Overground and TfL Rail on behalf of Transport for London will add further depth and understanding to an important component of this franchise.
"Together, FirstGroup and MTR will develop an innovative and value for money proposal that will deliver better connectivity and significant improvements for South Western customers. Our bid will keep people moving and communities prospering across the region."
South West Trains Website
South West Trains meanwhile continues and has recently introduced a new app and web site:
Rail passengers can now access the cheapest available tickets across the UK rail network with the launch of a transformational new mobile app and website. The new South West Trains digital tools allow rail travellers to directly access the best fares without having to search multiple providers. A new powerful booking engine developed by South West Trains is the first of its kind to be created by a train operator. It will drive both the southwesttrains.co.uk website and mobile app, searching for the cheapest available fares that can often be unavailable through third party rail websites and other booking engines.
Passengers will have easy and fast access to the cheapest fares, with no booking fees when buying tickets through the South West Trains website or app. Feedback from passengers and staff has been integral to the design of the new website and iOS app. Customer experience experts and South West Trains also compared booking tools available through popular retailers with the company’s existing website and other ticket purchase channels used by customers.
The new South West Trains website is also part of an overall £11 million digital investment strategy by parent company Stagecoach Group, one of the UK’s biggest bus and rail operators. Stagecoach Group has already launched a new bus online platform, providing live tracking of every bus and ticket purchase direct from a smartphone.
A new Android app will be launched as part of a second phase of improvements for South West Trains passengers later this year. It will also include a ‘My Account’ facility and an enhanced contact section.
© Ian Kirby