Competition & Markets Authority
CMA accepts price caps on West Coast Rail lines
Train passengers travelling on certain routes between Preston and Scotland will benefit from capped fares following a CMA investigation.
As part of its mergers work, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) examines whether competition issues arise from the awarding of new rail franchises and the CMA has been investigating the award of the West Coast Rail franchise to a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia.
The CMA’s Phase 1 investigation found competition issues on 21 routes: 4 between Oxenholme and Carlisle, and 17 between Preston and Scotland (terminating at Glasgow or Edinburgh). On 17 of these routes passengers will be able to choose only West Coast Rail, operated by FirstGroup and Trenitalia, or TransPennine Express, which is operated solely by FirstGroup. On the additional 4 routes, passengers can still only choose from 3 operators.
The CMA is concerned that this limited competition could lead to passengers facing higher fares and less availability of cheaper tickets.
After careful consideration, and a public consultation, the CMA has now accepted proposals from FirstGroup and Trenitalia to address its concerns. For both West Coast Rail and TransPennine Express services these include caps on unregulated fares and maintaining the same availability of cheaper advance tickets for all 21 routes that raise competition issues. The 2 operators must submit regular reports to the CMA to show they are complying.
As a result of these measures, the award of the franchise can now go ahead without a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation.
All information relating to this case can be found on the First Rail Holdings & Trenitalia UK / West Coast Partnership Rail Franchise inquiry page.
Latest News from
Competition & Markets Authority
Provisional findings published in CMA review of water price controls30/09/2020 12:20:00
The CMA is consulting on its provisional findings from its redetermination of Ofwat’s proposed 2020-25 price controls.
Private healthcare provider fixed prices with consultants25/09/2020 12:20:00
Lessons from the CMA’s investigation into Spire Healthcare's illegal agreement to fix the price of initial consultations for private self-pay patients.
CMA acts to protect competition on UK-US airline routes18/09/2020 09:20:00
Due to coronavirus, the CMA has imposed measures to protect competition on UK-US air routes while it investigates an agreement involving BA and American Airlines.
Motorcycle insurance broker merger raises competition concerns17/09/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has found that Ardonagh’s completed purchase of Bennetts could lead to higher prices, less choice and worse services for motorcyclists in the UK.
TUI UK to complete refunds by the end of the month16/09/2020 12:25:00
TUI UK has committed to the CMA that customers awaiting their refunds for holidays that were cancelled due to coronavirus will receive them by the end of the month.
Final decision published in window blind merger inquiry15/09/2020 09:20:00
The CMA has decided that Hunter Douglas, owner of online blinds retailer Blinds2Go, must sell the majority of its shares in 247 to protect competition and prevent higher prices.
Digital advertising merger to be abandoned during CMA investigation14/09/2020 13:25:00
Taboola has announced that it is to abandon its proposed purchase of Outbrain.
CMA updates competition law risk guide for managers11/09/2020 09:20:00
An updated guide to competition rules has been issued to help managers, directors and their advisers to stay on the right side of the law.