Rail commuters invited to have their say on Southeastern franchise
RAIL commuters in north Kent are being invited to have their say in a consultation on how to improve train services.
The consultation was launched on Thursday (JUNE 21) by the Department for Transport and looks at improvements the new Southeastern franchise can make in its future services.
The franchise will run from April 2014 until September 2020.
Potential bidders on the franchise are also being asked for their views of on how they will improve service quality for passengers.
North Kent Rail User Group member, Jackie Davidson said: "The biggest problem Southeastern has is it needs to speed the trains up.
"The fact they take longer to get somewhere than they did in 1871 is really bad.
"Communication is a major issue.
"They don’t tell anyone what’s going on and the website is not updated accurately.
"The station staff don’t seem to be kept up with events well enough.
"One thing that’s also annoying is that there are hardly any trains on a Sunday.
"There is far more demand to travel on a Sunday now so that needs to be addressed."
Rail minister Theresa Villiers says she is keen to hear people's opinions.
She 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."
The closing date for people to have their say is September 13. To view the consultation, go to dft.gov.uk
Commuters' misery under Southeastern
- In March, Southeastern was ranked the worst train company in the entire country by Which? Magazine.
- Last June, the National Passenger Survey ranked it Britain’s worst rail provider for dealing with delays.
- During the snow of January 2010, the Southeastern service was almost non-existent. Freezing passengers were given hardly any information. It was the same the following winter, leading for calls for the company to be stripped of its franchise.
- Last year, it reported a 82.04 per cent punctuality rate- 0.4 per cent above the figure entitling passengers to a discount for poor performance
- Despite poor service, passengers have faced regular price hikes of up to 12 per cent, making it London’s most expensive train company