The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has started the procurement process for the next East Anglia rail franchise.
As the first step in the search for a new operator, the department has published the procurement documents.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "East Anglia has a thriving economy and I want it to be served by the best train services possible.
"Today marks the beginning of the process to find an operator who can meet the demand for better, faster services and make a real difference to people’s experience on the railways in East Anglia."
The new franchise operator is expected to offer shorter journey times, especially for services into London, and a service that meets the needs of commuters and leisure passengers in the region.
The bidding prospectus also demands that the new franchise be able to provide easier connections with London’s transport network at stations such as Liverpool Street and Stratford, and a more reliable service with fewer delays and cancellations, along with better customer service.
In addition, it outlines that the potential bidders will be required to offer better passenger communication during disruptions, enhanced integration with local transport along the routes and investment in and around stations.
The East Anglia franchise currrently runs five routes serving 354,000 passengers every day.
The franchise is operated by Abellio Greater Anglia and is responsible to serve the route until 16 October 2016.
In December, the UK Government launched a public consultation to seek passengers view on the future of rail services across the East Anglia region.
Image: The East Anglia franchise runs five routes carrying 354,000 passengers every day. Photo: courtesy of the UK Department for Transport.