Renewed calls made for South Eastern devolution
THE chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee has called on the Government to devolve London suburban services to Transport for London as part of the South Eastern franchise.
In a letter to Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, responding to the Department for Transport’s consultation into the South Eastern franchise, Caroline Pidgeon said the Government should “return to its 2016 plan” which proposed the devolution of some services.
She says allowing TfL to run suburban services could provide higher capacity, better reliability, integrated fares and better accessibility for passengers. She further argues it would allow TfL to co-ordinate investment in the rail network with wider strategies for the development of London’s economy, and allow passengers to hold the Mayor of London to account for rail services.
Pidgeon wrote that the DfT should “guarantee that the service standards delivered in the new South Eastern franchise match those on National Rail services that TfL oversees”. This would include commitments to increase the frequency of metro services, provide additional station staff, improve passenger information and increase the accessibility of services.
The committee opposes proposals to cut the number of central London stations served by the franchise, saying it would inconvenience many London rail users. “It would seem that the Government and the franchisee would be gaining at the expense of London Transport users,” it said.
The letter also highlighted proposals to incorporate Hayes-Lewisham services on the Bakerloo Line following its extension. “Although we understand this proposal has not yet been confirmed, it is important that the new franchise takes this into account,” Pidgeon wrote.
TfL called for the devolution of Metro services operated by Southern, Southeastern and South West Trains last year ( RAIL 812). Grayling rejected the plans in December ( RAIL 816).
Southeastern 465036 rolls into London Bridge on November 29 2016. The London Assembly has again called for the devolution of the franchise to Transport for London, despite repeated Government decisions rejecting this. Andrew Roden firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writer