FirstGroup: Transport Scotland announced Serco to operate the new Caledonian Sleeper rail franchise from 1 April 2015

Aberdeen, Scotland, 2014-5-29 — /Travel PR News/ — Transport Scotland has announced today that Serco will be operating the new Caledonian Sleeper rail franchise, with effect from 1 April 2015. Caledonian Sleeper services, which currently form a small part of the Group’s ScotRail franchise, will become a new, separate franchise and as a result the Group will cease operation of sleeper services between Scotland and London from that date.

The sleeper services, which currently operate four cross-border trains per night, constitute 2% of First ScotRails total annual revenue. The Group’s medium term targets remain unchanged. Going forward the Group is currently shortlisted for a number of other rail franchises, and will participate in a range of competitions with the objective of achieving earnings on a par with the last round of franchising, with an acceptable level of risk.

Commenting, Tim OToole, FirstGroup’s Chief Executive, said:
“I would like to thank all of our employees who have worked hard to deliver the best possible service for Caledonian Sleeper customers over the past ten years. We submitted a strong bid which would have offered further high quality services for passengers and a good return for taxpayers.

“As a Scottish company, we remain committed to providing more and better rail services for Scotland. We have operated the current ScotRail franchise since 2004, providing more than 2,300 services per day, and over that time the franchise has achieved record highs in passenger numbers and also in customer satisfaction scores. We are shortlisted for the next generation of the ScotRail franchise due to be awarded by Transport Scotland in the coming months.

“We will continue to provide sleeper passengers with the best possible service until the new franchise commences, and will work closely with the new operator to ensure a seamless handover. We are tremendously proud to have provided this important service, providing a key link between Scotland and London, for the last decade and wish the team every success for the future.’

Contacts at FirstGroup:
Rachael Borthwick, Group Corporate Communications Director
Stuart Butchers, Group Media Relations Manager
Tel: +44 20 7725 3354

Contacts at Brunswick PR:
Andrew Porter, Tel: +44 20 7404 5959

Notes to editors: FirstGroup has operated the current Caledonian Sleeper service since 2004, carrying approximately 800 passengers a night on four separate trains linking London Euston Station with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William. As part of its ScotRail franchise, FirstGroup has delivered a programme of upgrades to the sleeper service including updated cabin facilities and refreshed lounge cars.

About FirstGroup: FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America. With revenues of more than £6.7 billion and around 117,000 employees, we transport more than 2.5 billion passengers every year. Each of our five divisions is a leader in its field: First Student is the largest provider of student transportation in North America with a fleet of around 49,000 yellow school buses, First Transit is one of the largest providers of outsourced transit management and contracting services in the US, while Greyhound is the only national operator of scheduled intercity coach services across North America. In the UK, FirstGroup is one of Britain’s largest bus operators running a fleet of some 6,400 buses, and we operate approximately a quarter of the UK passenger rail network, carrying more than 330 million passengers a year. First Bus and First ScotRail are proud to be official supporters of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, providing passenger rail and bus services. Our vision is to provide solutions for an increasingly congested world…keeping people moving and communities prospering.

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