§ Mr. Hill
I have had no discussions with the train operator about this matter, but the Franchising Director is monitoring the situation. He has agreed an emergency timetable with Connex as a rest-day working ban by drivers has meant that the original timetable could not be met. While this is a far from ideal situation, the Franchising Director agreed that it is in passengers' interests to have information on which services will run and which are cancelled. Connex are currently recruiting more drivers and services will be re-introduced as they complete their training.
§ Mr. Hill
The shortlisted counterparties for a replacement South Central franchise were selected following the Franchising Director's evaluation of their initial proposals against the criteria given to him by the Deputy Prime Minister in his Instructions and Guidance of September 1999. In summary these are: commitment to secure better performance and customer services; the 435W extent to which extra or earlier investment can be secured; the extent to which passengers will be given a greater voice in the level and standard of services; and value for money to the taxpayer. The Franchising Director has outlined in further detail the criteria for evaluating bids in his Outline Guide to Franchise Replacement of 25 May.