The Operator of Last Resort may be called in to take over the Northern franchise from Arriva, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Mr Shapps told the House of Commons Transport Committee he had issued a request for proposals from both Arriva and OLR, saying of the franchise: ‘I consider that it cannot continue delivering in the current delivery method’. Mr Shapps said the request for proposals was the first phase of ‘either going to a direct award or an operator of last resort’.
Arriva took over the Northern franchise in April 2016 on a nine-year term. The operator was one of the worst hit by the timetable difficulties in May 2018, while late delivery of rolling stock has also inhibited Northern’s plans, forcing it to retain Pacer trains into next year, beyond the deadline for compliance with Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) regulations.