New rail provider Greater Anglia takes over regional franchise from National Express East Anglia

The new rail provider for all trains out of Norwich, Greater Anglia, has this morning taken over the regional franchise from National Express East Anglia.

The change came into force at 2am this morning for intercity, commuter and rural services throughout the region, including the Norwich to London service.

As of this morning Greater Anglia is responsible for almost 3,000 employees and the safe operation of 43,000 services per month for the next 29 months.

Last month National Express East Anglia registered the lowest satisfaction in terms of value for money and was rated joint bottom in terms of train punctuality.

Local MPs and councillors have been in talks with Greater Anglia's Dutch parent company, Abellio, to improve the franchise.

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Greater Anglia has said that its initial task will be to ensure a seamless transition is made so that provision is in place for the London 2012 Olympics, before turning attentions to improvements in customer service, station condition and operational performance.

The company has also committed to freezing car park charges this year, for additional customer service staff to start work immediately, doubling the numbers of safety and security staff, and to increase the number of seats available on services to and from London's Liverpool Street Station.

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Ruud Haket, managing director of Greater Anglia, said: 'We want to provide a great rail service and from today will start by ensuring those travelling in the peak see more seats on specific trains.

'We'll continue to deliver on the promises we have made to improve customer service through a whole suite of initiatives between now and the end of the franchise.'

For much more on the new rail providers, see tomorrow's newspaper.

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