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Govia to continue to operate the UK's Southern

08/14/2009 AT 07:31

The new franchise will start in September 2009 and will run for 5 years and 10 months until July 2015, with an optional two year extension at the discretion of the Department for Transport. The franchise is expected to generate aggregate turnover of approximately 3.5 billion over its duration.

The Southern franchise covers South London and the counties between London and the south coast, including hubs such as Croydon and Brighton. It also runs Gatwick Express, incorporated in June 2008, which will continue to run a non-stop service from London Victoria to Gatwick airport.

The successful bid set out a number of initiatives to increase capacity, improve the passenger experience and maintain optimal operations despite network and station disruption caused by the Thameslink route upgrade programme. The new Southern franchise will also see the introduction of an ITSO multi-modal ticketing system across the network in 2012.

During the last franchise, Keolis's shareholder SNCF brought its rail expertise and resources to the management of a dense and highly-utilised network which transported more than 120 million passengers last year alone.

The financial stability of Govia's shareholders comes as reassurance to the stakeholders and clients during a period of economic uncertainty. Furthermore the operator will pay a premium to the Department for Transport each year, after receiving a subsidy on the current franchise.

Michel Bleitrach, Keolis CEO, said, "We are delighted that the Department for Transport has retained Govia once again for the South Central franchise. This is an endorsement of the good work carried out by the Keolis / Go-Ahead partnership over the last franchise, and we look forward to contributing to further improving passenger service in the coming years."

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