Abellio has been operating successfully in the UK for over 10 years. The UK was our first market. We are the 2nd largest rail company in the UK, operating three rail franchises currently in addition to a major bus company serving London and Surrey.
In 2014, we have completed successful extension negotiations for the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise. As of 1 April 2015 we operate ScotRail, Scotland's national railway. In 2016 we were awarded the new East Anglia franchise and in October 2016 we started operating Greater Anglia. Added to this is a vibrant rail presence in Germany, in North Rhine Westphalia and Mitteldeutschland.
Our continuation in the European market was formally approved by the Dutch Cabinet in March 2014 when the Long-Term Rail Agenda - a 15 year strategy proposed by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and the Ministry of Finance.
The business strategy of Abellio’s parent company, NS, is fully aligned with the Long-Term Rail Agenda. The strategy sets out the following defining principles:
- Passengers are our 1st, 2nd and 3rd priority
- Cooperation with partners on the full door-to-door journey
- Europe strengthens us
The last of these underlines the importance of Abellio’s European commitment. The exchange of international best practice drives innovation and service improvements for passengers. Our programme facilitates the exchange of ideas and discussion about mutual challenges by staff across all our territories, and this has resulted in innovation and service improvements for many passengers.
The most outspoken example of this is the new Bike&Go scheme. Based on a hugely successful Dutch scheme called OV Fiets, Bike&Go is the UK’s first fully integrated cycle hire scheme for train stations. We’ve adapted that scheme for the UK market and have now rolled it out at almost 50 stations across our UK franchises. And schemes like this are very important to passengers, who travel from door to door, rather than from station to station. Their journey goes beyond a-to-b. With the experience of NS behind us and our own international portfolio we are able to combine several modalities, retail and station developments into one service concept for passengers.
Abellio is committed to a long term and sustainable programme of European investment. We will continue to put all our efforts into providing leadership and vision for the industry. For over 175 years, the same determination to innovate and excel in public transport has been at the heart of NS’s approach. Abellio is broadening that approach into Europe.