James Brokenshire has made a last minute call to his constituents for them to contribute to the consultation on the future of the Southeastern rail franchise. Following news of the General Election, the consultation was extended once again and rail users now have just five days to submit their views before it closes on 30 June.
Anyone can contribute to the consultation either by completing the forms here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-south-eastern-rail-services or emailing BetterSoutheastern@dft.gsi.gov.uk
The Department for Transport’s consultation document contains a number of specification proposals for the new rail franchise set to begin at the end of 2018. Work to identify the next operator will commence over the coming months, but beforehand it is important that the DfT has a vision in mind for the network and that it is based on the experiences of those that use it.
The consultation proposes a number of important changes, including Delay-Repay 15, which will provide for compensation for passengers after delays of 15 minutes or more, rather than the current 30 minute threshold. In addition, there are plans to reconsider carriage design in order to better accommodate the number of people using the service during the morning and afternoon peaks.
A large part of the consultation focusses, as should be expected on reliability. Some of these are to be welcomed, such as much better working between the new operator and Network Rail to reduce delays. However, James firmly rejects suggestions that the choice of London termini should be limited on Metro services, owing to the dependency of commuters in South East London on the rail network given the lack of Underground connectivity.
Commenting, James said:
“This week is the last chance for commuters to have their say in their future rail service. We all know the challenges on the network and have all experienced first-hand the issues around reliability and capacity. Therefore, I would urge all constituents to take the time to contribute and make their voice heard.”
“This is particularly important on the issue of the choice of London termini we expect on our rail network. The lack of connectivity to the London Underground in Bexley makes us more dependent than most on our overground services. Therefore ensuring that we still have trains running into Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Victoria and possibly Blackfriars is vital.”
You can view James’ formal response to the consultation below.