Latest Rail News

06.04.17

Southeastern passengers demand better services from new franchise

Passengers on the South Eastern franchise have called for a better deal from operators as they demanded more punctual, reliable services with enough room to sit and stand, research conducted by Transport Focus (TF) has revealed.

With the current Southeasterm franchise, operated by Govia, set to expire in December 2018 and a competition opening for the next franchise, TF has consulted passengers on their views of ambitions for the new franchise and found many areas that the incoming operator will need to improve on.

Today’s news also follows the government opening a consultation into improving the poorly rated franchise in March. 

Focus groups added that they wanted operators to deal with delays better when problems came up that led to disruptions on major services.

Commuters, who make up two-thirds of the demand on Southeastern services, said their main concern was carriages not being spacious enough for people to stand in safety and comfort.

Passengers on high-speed trains also told TF that they saw their service as a premium product, and expected improvements like the addition of wi-fi to be included in the service.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog, said: “Time and time again Southeastern passengers tell us they want to see trains running more reliably.

“Passengers are frustrated with the lack of quality, accurate information during disruption to services. When things go wrong passengers want better information.

The TF chief executive added that the winning company needed to “take ownership” and for members of staff to be there to assist and inform passengers about potential delays.  

Smith said: “They want answers to: how long will the delay last? When will the next train run? What alternatives are there?”

He added that TF welcomed and supported the transport secretary’s ambition set out in the recent consultation.

“As with other franchises, we will be looking for innovation in modern ways to buy tickets and improved compensation when things go wrong,” explained Smith. “This is a great opportunity to boost the quality of South Eastern passengers’ experience of their railway.”

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   06/04/2017 at 20:48

Could First+MTR, DB Arriva, Abellio or Trenitalia take over Southeastern if Govia/Go Ahead were to lose the Southeastern Rail franchise.

Man Of Kent   07/04/2017 at 09:41

Sloppy reporting, RTM. The South Eastern franchise is NOT part of GTR (although the ultimate owners are the same).

Mikeyb   07/04/2017 at 16:40

@Andrew. Any one of those mentioned by you or in any combination could take over BUT only if they enter a bid!

Andrew Gwilt   09/04/2017 at 03:55

Fair point. @Mikeyb

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