The direct award contract begins on October 18 and runs until March 2018 and the DfT has an option to extend the franchise by up to a year. EMT forecasts it will pay a premium of around £150m to the DfT over the two year five-month duration of the franchise.
EMT plans to invest £13m in the franchise with measures including:
- A freeze on anytime fares to London until 2017
- Half-hourly Nottingham - Newark Castle services on Saturdays by December 2016 (half-hourly frequency introduced last year on weekdays) and faster Saturday services between Nottingham and Lincoln
- Launch of a new mobile app, upgraded onboard 4G connectivity and 15 minutes free Wi-Fi in standard class on services to and from London
- Extra cleaning staff on trains and at stations
- Improved online compensation system for delays, and
- Accessibility and security improvements.
According to the current franchising schedule, the DfT plans to begin tendering for a new long-term franchise next July and the contract will be signed in October 2017.
In the 2014-15 financial year EMT carried 25.5 million passengers and operated 22.2 million timetabled train-km on its 1550km network. The company serves 89 stations, operating inter-city services on Midland Main Line from London to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield as well as regional and commuter services in central, northwest, and eastern England.