The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) Passports to 11 companies in order to streamline the bidding process for rail franchises.
The PQQ Passport will remove the need to complete ‘resource-intensive’ sections of the PQQ each time a bidder applies for a franchise.
Valid for four years, the passport will allow the companies to provide the PQQ information only once.
During this period, applicants will be able to compete for franchise contracts without the need to submit the same information every time.
The 11 companies include Abellio Transport Group, Arriva UK Trains, First Rail Holdings, Go-Ahead Holding, Govia, Keolis (UK), MTR Corporation (UK), National Express Trains, Stagecoach Group, Trenitalia and Virgin Holdings.
The DfT noted that the PQQ passport is a new approach to its rigorous pre-qualification process in rail franchising.
UK Rail Minister Claire Perry said: "The award of the first PQQ Passports is a fantastic step forward that will not only benefit bidders, but taxpayers and customers too.
"It will give applicants time and resource to improve their bids, while reducing the administrative burden on the department. Simplifying this process will help open up the market to more bidders and improve competition on our railways, which is ultimately great news for customers."
The competitions currently on are the East Anglia franchise competition, which began in February, and the Northern and TransPennine Express competitions, which began in June 2014.