High Court refuses to reject claims from frustrated franchise bidders
THE HIGH COURT has rejected a government attempt to quash legal challenges from Stagecoach, Virgin and Arriva, which argue that the rejection of four franchise bids in April was unlawful. In each case the reason was the same, because the bidders had attempted to reduce what they claim were virtually open-ended risks connected with pension funding. Stagecoach, in partnership with Virgin and SNCF, was ruled out of the West Coast Partnership competition, while Stagecoach was also disqualified from separate bids for East Midlands and South Eastern. Arriva was also disqualified from the East Midlands competition, leaving the only other bidder Abellio as the winner. It will take over East Midlands on the 18th of this month. Arriva alone is claiming £200 million from the Department for Transport. The DfT continues to maintain that athough it does not comment on legal proceedings, it has ‘total confidence’ in its handling of the bids.