Department for Transport

Stagecoach fights back on pensions


Stagecoach, which owns 49% of Virgin Trains, says it faced pensions risks of "well in excess" of £1bn for retail franchises it was bidding to operate.

This is after it was barred from three rail franchise bids - East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast Partnership - last month when the Department for Transport (DfT) disallowed the bids because they did not meet pensions rules.

It a stock exchange announcement today, Stagecoach said a senior Department for Transport official "verbally advised that we had been excluded from all three competitions for submitting non-compliant bids, principally in respect of pensions risk".

"In our bids, we refused to accept the potential pension risks that the Department for Transport requires operators to bear in relation to the three new franchises.

"The full extent of these risks is unknown, but we estimate them to be well in excess of £1bn for the three franchises".

Grayling: Cancelled ferry contracts 'were insurance'
Cancelled ferry contracts were part of a £4bn no-deal Brexit "insurance policy" the government put in place, says Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Government cancels remaining Brexit ferry contracts

Joe Miller

Business reporter

Brittany Ferries
Getty Images

The Department for Transport will terminate its remaining no-deal Brexit ferry contracts with operators Brittany Ferries and DFDS.

The cancellations could cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds, despite the fact that some of the £89m worth of procured capacity will be sold back to the market.

If extra cross-channel freight services are needed again in the run-up to the new Brexit deadline in October, the govt will likely have to negotiate a new set of contracts.

In February, the National Audit Office estimated that the cancellation costs of all three ferry contracts would be £56.6m.

The move comes just months after the DfT was forced to axe its £13.8m contract with athird company, Seaborne Freight, which the BBC found had never sailed a vessel.

Tube wi-fi switched off to deter protesters

London underground

Police have ordered Transport for London (TfL) to switch off wi-fi at Tube stations in an attempt to disrupt protesters threatening to "shut down London".

Extinction Rebellion protesters have been blocking traffic at Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus since Monday.

Supt Matt Allingham said extra officers would be on duty throughout the day, adding: "We will not tolerate any activity which disrupts the millions of passengers who rely on using the rail network in London.

"British Transport Police has taken the decision to restrict passenger Wi-Fi connectivity at Tube stations. This follows intelligence that Extinction Rebellion protesters intend to cause disruption to Tube services."

A TfL spokesperson said: “We’re working closely with the police to manage the impact of disruption to London’s transport network."