In a statement released on April 10, Stagecoach confirmed that it had been excluded from the East Midlands, South Eastern, and West Coast Partnership franchises “for submitting non-compliant bids, principally in respect of pensions risk.”

The Sunday Telegraph, which has seen extracts from the letter, reported on April 13 that Stagecoach alleges contradictions by senior officials and a “lack of engagement” by the government during the bidding for East Midlands.

The letter also claims the government made last-minute changes to the tendering process.

Stagecoach wants to know why its bid was deemed “non-compliant,” whether other bidders have been disqualified for similar failings, and why the DfT altered bidding instructions. The Sunday Telegraph says the letter is understood to be a prelude to potential High Court action.

A Stagecoach spokesperson confirmed to IRJ that the quotes from the The Sunday Telegraph article are correct.

“We can confirm we have written to the Department for Transport seeking answers to the numerous legitimate questions many people have about their decision,” the company said in a statement.

“We expect a prompt, full and transparent response to help restore public confidence in the integrity of the government’s procurement process, which has been badly shaken by this and other recent events.”

The spokesperson said that in light of the “serious issues” which have emerged, Stagecoach has also called for a 14-day extension to the standard 10-day standstill period for the East Midlands franchise, which would take the period through to May 8.