James Brokenshire has published his submission to the consultation on the future of the Southeastern rail franchise, calling for greater capacity, better reliability and improved compensation and customer service. James’ submission also rejects suggestions that the number of Central London destinations served by Southeastern Metro trains should be reduced.
The Department for Transport published their consultation on the future of the rail network in South East London and Kent earlier this month and respondents have until 23 May to submit their own comments. The document proposes a number of changes, including Delay Repay 15, where passengers are compensated after 15 minutes of delay and redesigned train carriages in order to better suit the needs of the morning and afternoon peaks. Many of these have been welcomed by James as a means of increasing capacity, although his letter to the Transport Secretary also underlines the need for additional train carriages to ease overcrowding on peak services.
The consultation also makes suggestions aiming to make the service passengers experience more reliable. A number of these, such as the need for Network Rail to work more closely with the new operator in a way which reflects some of the incentives used on the London Overground, would help. James has encouraged all parties to start work on this immediately. 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:
“The Department for Transport’s consultation offers a number of important suggestions which I believe may help to improve reliability and address some of the longstanding capacity issues. I have added to this with my own suggestions around automatic compensation payments and the possibility of additional services into London Blackfriars.”
“However, whilst the consultation suggests that reducing the number of London termini served by the Metro services may help reduce delays, I believe passengers from Bexley should continue to benefit from regular services to and from Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Victoria. The current London termini must continue to be available to local rail passengers and any attempt to oversimplify the rail system in South East London would place additional pressure on other parts of London’s transport infrastructure.”
James’ consultation submission can be found below:
To add your own comments to the consultation on the next rail franchise, click here.