THERE IS a “substantial lessening of competition” on three rail routes following the award of a rail franchise, a watchdog has said.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that Arriva’s acquisition of the Northern rail franchise could lead to an increase in fares when there had previously been a choice of operators for passengers. The CMA therefore decided to cap some fares on trains from Leeds to Sheffield, Wakefield to Sheffield and Chester to Manchester.
CMA inquiry chairman Phil Evans said: “We have found that Arriva’s acquisition of the Northern rail franchise will not lead to competition concerns on the vast majority of routes on which Arriva operates overlapping rail services.
“However, we have found three routes where Arriva could raise unregulated fares for passengers.
“In order to protect their interests, we are bringing in targeted price caps on the affected journeys, which will still allow Arriva to deliver its overall commitment to bring a range of benefits to passengers through the Northern rail franchise, such as better trains and improved customer service.”
Arriva began operating the Northern franchise on April 1.