Stagecoach confirms legal action on franchise bans

Perth-based transport giant Stagecoach Group plc confirmed on Thursday it will take the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) to court early next year over the Government’s decision to ban the company from bidding for three rail franchises.

Stagecoach was blocked from bidding for the South Eastern, West Coast and East Midlands franchise competitions for not complying with pension funding requests.

In a trading statement, Stagecoach said: “We continue to pursue our claims against the Secretary of State for Transport regarding his decisions to disqualify us from three rail franchise competitions.

“The three cases are due to be heard in the High Court in early 2020.”

A DfT spokesman said: “Stagecoach is an experienced bidder who knowingly submitted non-compliant bids.

“In doing so, they disqualified themselves from the South Eastern, West Coast and East Midlands franchise competitions.

“We do not comment on legal proceedings.

“However, we have total confidence in our franchise competition process and will robustly defend decisions that were taken fairly following a thorough and impartial evaluation process.”