Response to rail consultation

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has today written to the Department for Transport’s consultation co-ordinator, outlining his views on the next operating agreement for the South Eastern Franchise.

He also made representations to the Secretary of State directly when the consultation was published in June.

His comments reflect those made to him by constituents during the course of the current contract and since the document was published. These relate to service standards, reliability, fares and customer experiences.

In his letter, he said “Any new franchise that it awarded must impose stricter targets and sanctions on the operator’s performance as I believe that the current contract is too lenient in terms of cancelled trains, reliability and services run during tough weather conditions.

“Since April 2006, fares have increased substantially, and are due to rise by an average of 6.2% in January. The new franchise has to take into account that my constituents have been subject to rises of RPI +3% in most years, when other operators have been limited to RPI +1%.

“Finally, overall customer service and experiences have to improve. The condition of many carriages used on local routes is not satisfactory, and communication with customers has been poor at times.

“Whilst Bexley is a London Borough, there are no London Underground or DLR stations. As such, my constituents and I rely more on rail services than most London residents. I therefore believe that this new franchise represents a good opportunity to improve rail services in Bexley.”