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24 March 2015, 05:59
Stansted Airport has told Heart whoever takes over the new East Anglia rail franchise, needs to make better services between there and Cambridge a priority.
They're calling on the Government to adopt a joined-up approach to tackle a lack of rail services for the increasing passenger numbers.
The airport has highlighted 12 key commitments that should be part of the new franchise, which will come into operation in October next year. Among their points are:
Working with Network Rail to cut journey times between Stansted and London to 40 minutes by no later than 2019
Identifying creative solutions for running non-stop services to and from the airport during the early morning/late evening and setting up an additional Stratford service to meet growing demand in east London
Introducing an early morning service (03.40) from London Liverpool Street to Stansted seven days a week by 2017 and increasing the number of services to Cambridge and beyond
Exploring opportunities with Network Rail to extend operations to 24 hour, seven days a week
Rolling out contactless payment and smart card technology on the Stansted Express within two years of new franchise
Stansted say they can double the current 20 million passengers a year to serve over 40 million passengers, adding that they play an important role in meeting aviation demand in London and south-east over the next decade.
They say improving rail connectivity on the West Anglia Mainline will be critical to enabling the airport to fulfill this potential by providing passengers with more choice of airlines and greater competition with other airports while at the same time helping support growth and regeneration along the London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor.
Stansted's Managing Director Andrew Harrison said: "The new franchise provides a timely and significant opportunity for Government to bring together improvements to rail services and rail infrastructure in a way that will be hugely beneficial for passengers, and enable Stansted to play its full part in meeting the UK's capacity needs.
"In tendering the new franchise, it is important that the Department for Transport recognises the urgent need for improvements in rail connectivity to Stansted. The new franchise will enable the Department to deliver improved rail infrastructure and improved train services in parallel, providing the maximum benefit for airport users and commuters alike.
"As the Airports Commission has recognised, Stansted has a big part to play in meeting the UK's future capacity needs. Because of this, the franchise process should provide strong and clear incentives to bidders to focus on meeting the needs of airport passengers, with a particular emphasis on delivering fast, frequent and reliable rail services that provide value for money and a great door to door passenger experience.
"We look forward to working closely with interested bidders to develop innovative proposals for delivering a step change in the quality of rail services to and from Stansted and the wider region."