James Brokenshire is urging Southeastern train passengers to get involved with a new public consultation on local rail services and help shape improvements on trains serving stations in Bexley. The public consultation which has been launched by the Department for Transport is the first stage in the process to award a new contract to run rail services on the South Eastern Network from April 2014.
James met Boris Johnson last week to discuss the role the Mayor could have to drive improvements in reliability and performance on Metro services in South East London. The Mayor of London has expressed his interest in taking a more direct stake in the running of Southeastern’s commuter services with the potential to increase train frequencies following the successful model of the London Overground Network. The Mayor’s proposals are currently being considered by the Department for Transport as part of separate work on decentralising rail services.
The South Eastern franchise will be formally advertised in December with tenders invited in May 2013. The public consultation will help the development of the franchise specification and seeks views on a range of issues including service improvements, ‘passenger experience’, security, stations and car parking. The new franchise will operate until 2020 so that the impact of the enhancements to the Thameslink service and the introduction of Crossrail can be assessed at that time.
“I know that many users of Southeastern Trains simply aren’t satisfied with the service they currently receive” James Brokenshire said.
“This consultation provides an important opportunity for passengers to have their say and to consider how we can drive much needed improvements through the award of the new franchise. I’m also keen to explore what benefits could be delivered if Transport for London and the Mayor had a more direct role in the running of local rail services.”
Launching the consultation Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said:
“Before we let this franchise, we want to make sure we make the right decisions to maximise the benefits passengers get from it.
“This consultation sets out a range of standards we expect any new operator to deliver as a matter of course, including improvements to stations, rolling out smart ticketing technology, better passenger information and good levels of punctuality. But we also want passengers and anyone else with an interest in the railways to tell us about other ways services could be improved.”
More information on the consultation is available from the Department for Transport at
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-29/. Comments should be received by the Department of Transport by 13 September 2012.