§ Mr. Dobson
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice he has given to the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising regarding a prioritisation review of rail routes earmarked for early sale; what form such advice took; on what date such advice was issued; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Freeman
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, announced on 2 February 1993 the first seven service groups to be prepared for franchising. On 24 May the Secretary of State announced the remaining 18 groupings to be prepared for franchising, subject to some further work which resulted in a further announcement confirming all 25 groupings on 4 August.
It will be for the franchising director to decide the order in which franchises are offered for sale, taking into account both their readiness and market interest in bidding. We shall be asking the franchising director to prepare a programme for franchising all passenger services.