The Rhondda AM has called upon the Labour Government in Wales to involve the public during the franchise process to decide who will run rail services in Wales.
Leanne Wood AM said the people who use rail services day-in, day-out, should be given the opportunity to analyse and offers ideas as to how the next rail company in Wales could offer better conditions for rail passengers.
The latest National Rail Passenger Survey revealed last month that Arriva Trains Wales passengers’ satisfaction with their service fell in areas such as ticket-buying facilities and the state of trains.
In plenary, Leanne told Ken Skates - the Labour Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport – that greater scrutiny of the tender documents could lead to greater scrutiny and avoid some of the pitfalls of the last franchise.
She said: “It's baffling as to why you are conducting the franchise tendering process under such a thick veil of secrecy. Unlike the UK Government's Department for Transport and Transport Scotland, you are refusing to publish the invitation-to-tender documents that have been issued to bidders.
“If you did publish those documents, people in Wales—the people who are herded onto those train services every day—would have the opportunity to analyse the criteria and offer ideas as to ways in which they could be improved. The mistakes of the last rail franchise for Wales can be laid at the door of an arm's-length Westminster body.
“As a frequent traveller on the Valleys lines coming down from the Rhondda, it's no surprise to me to see customer satisfaction with rail services in Wales has dropped. The conditions are often appalling.
“If things don't improve this time, there'll be no hiding place for you and for your Labour Cabinet colleagues. Why not publish the franchise documents, get the people involved, open yourself up to greater scrutiny to deliver a better rail franchise that works for everyone? What are you afraid of?”
In reply, Mr Skates AM claimed publishing the tender documents could“jeopardise the entire competitive procurement process.”
If you agree with Leanne, why not get involved with Plaid Cymru by clicking this link?