International transport group Stagecoach has sought clarification from the Department for Transport (DfT) over its disqualification from bidding on rail franchises.

Last week, the transport group’s bid on three franchise was deemed non-compliant due to concerns over pension commitments.

Stagecoach has confirmed that it has sent a letter to the DfT seeking reasons for its exclusion.

A Stagecoach Group spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have written to the Department for Transport seeking answers to the numerous legitimate questions many people have about their decision.

“We expect a prompt, full and transparent response to help restore public confidence in the integrity of the government’s procurement process.”

“We expect a prompt, full and transparent response to help restore public confidence in the integrity of the government’s procurement process, which has been badly shaken by this and other recent events.”

It is widely speculated that the company may explore legal options if the government response is not satisfactory.

A DfT spokesperson put the onus of disqualification on Stagecoach.

The spokesperson was quoted by The Yorkshire Post as saying: “Stagecoach is an experienced bidder and fully aware of the rules of franchise competitions.

“It is regrettable that they submitted non-compliant bids for all current competitions, which breached established rules and, in doing so, they are responsible for their own disqualification.”

Stagecoach placed an independent bid for East Midlands, which it operated from 2007, and joint bids for South Eastern and West Coast.

Later, the East Midlands franchise was awarded to Abellio by the DfT, subject to a ten-day standstill period.

Abellio East Midlands will operate the franchise from 18 August this year to 21 August 2027, with the option for a two-year extension.