Client: Arriva

Arriva was bidding for a major rail infrastructure franchise and needed to have additional bid expertise for the submission. They used The Bid Team to meet their requirements.


Arriva is one of the UK’s largest public transport providers and it operates bus and train franchises across the country. In the UK the rail market is deregulated and almost fully contracted by the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government and Transport for London. The country’s 22 rail contracts are typically net cost and vary in length. Contracts for light rail and tram systems are issued by local or regional authorities. Arriva runs four rail franchises and two rail contracts that cover 22 per cent of the entire network, as well as the UK’s first modern light rail service.

The Department of Transport has had a rolling programme of franchise renewal for all the contracts that come under their remit. This renewal programme seeks to refresh the network and provide the opportunity for innovative rail operation with the aim of increasing passenger satisfaction. In 2015 the department for transport was running a series of tenders for train operators to bid for franchises. Arriva was bidding for the Northern Rail franchise and needed assistance to review and write key aspects of the tender. Arriva engaged The Bid Team to provide this review, rewrite and copywriting service.

The bid was limited to one thousand pages across 14 delivery plans. The size of each delivery plan was up to the bidder but the overall delivery plans document limited to one thousand pages. The bid copy therefore had to be compelling but succinct. It had to score against the evaluation criteria when evaluated against several overarching criteria. The Bid Team provided a structural review of the tender, to ensure that all elements of the bid were utilising the available space. In addition we provided a copywriting team to work through the almost final document to ensure that the copy was consistent and in line with the bid guidelines and style guide.

This was a successful bid for Arriva, securing the franchise for nine years from April 2016 until March 2025. Arriva will oversee the complete removal of the outdated and unpopular Pacers by the end of 2019, and will invest £400 million in 281 brand new air-conditioned carriages — more than double the minimum required in the government’s invitation to tender.

Bidding Services

Arriva engaged The Bid Team for this one-off bid support. We provided bid review, writing and copywriting services to Arriva. Our services included:

Structural Review – Arriva engaged The Bid Team to undertake a structural review of the tender to provide guidelines for writing each section of the document and the allocation of page limits to each section. The review also considered writing style and overall client first approach.

Bid Writing – Arriva had a large team of contributors to this bid, some with ability to write compelling copy to the guidelines and others who were domain experts. Our writers assisted key players in producing their copy, to ensure that tight deadlines for internal review and final submission were met.

Bid Copywriting – Having a large team of contributors always provides difficulties in consistency of the final bid copy. Arriva engaged The Bid Team to provide a team of copywriters to rework the copy for consistency and style. The one thousand page limit meant that all rework had to be undertaken against strict page constraints.

Bid Functions Provided

This was a one-off bid support to operate part of the UK national rail infrastructure on a franchise basis.

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With all the demanding work going in a response, your final repsonse should demonstrate the importance you assign to the tender and hence the purchasing organisation. The right binding solutions will make you stand out.

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