[Updated 9 August]
A FRESH bid to take over the suburban services of Southeastern has been launched by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn.
The Mayor has previously tried to have more London suburban lines transferred to the Transport for London Overground network.
Now the Mayor has written to transport secretary Chris Grayling urging him to ‘put the needs of thousands of long-suffering passengers first’.
Mr Kahn also points out that an award of the Southeastern franchise to one of three shortlisted bidders has already been delayed by three months and is not now expected until November. He described recent performance on Southeastern Metro routes as ‘mediocre at best’.
The Mayor continued: “These passengers deserve so much better than they are currently getting and I believe now is the time for a fresh start. The Government could make the most of this delay by working with me to put passengers first by transferring responsibility for contracting these Metro services to TfL. Their expertise would provide the more frequent and reliable services these passengers are crying out for.”
A transfer would trigger a conversion to Overground standards of station staffing, cleanliness, revenue protection and service frequencies. The routes would also be fully integrated with TfL’s ticketing systems.
A spokesman for Southeastern said: “Decisions on the way rail franchises are structured and awarded are made by Government.
“We’ve invested £80 million to improve our services since 2014, including 68 extra carriages to boost capacity on our busiest services, nearly £5 million in station refurbishments, and new ‘Customer Ambassadors’ to help assist passengers with their journeys.”
The first transfers of National Rail services to Transport for London occurred in November 2007, when the Silverlink Metro routes between Euston and Watford, Stratford and Richmond and Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction were taken over by TfL. There have been more transfers since then, most recently involving the West Anglia suburban lines from Liverpool Street.