Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is today proposing a plan to include scrapping First Class seats on peak commuter trains, in a big to tackle overcrowding, delays and poor service.
The set of reforms sit in the government’s next franchise blueprint for Southeastern, which is one of the country’s worst performing franchises currently. The population served by the service is expected to grow by 3.4 million people by 2030; meaning an overhaul is crucial.
Proposals include removing first class seats, carriages with less seats and more standing room to accommodate more travellers, an automated delay compensation system, possible new routes, and extending metro trains up to 12 carriages.
Central London stations served from certain locations could be reduced too, and a ‘London Orbital’ service implemented. High speed services are also acknowledged, using the Ashford International line.
Mr Grayling said: “Services on the South Eastern rail network have been unacceptably poor for far too long. Passengers have endured disruption, overcrowding and delays, particularly during redevelopment work at London Bridge Station, and they deserve better. Appointing a new franchise operator from 2018 provides us with a great opportunity to sort out the problems which have plagued South Eastern, and deliver the high quality of service that customers expect.”
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If rail disruption means you drive instead of taking the train, you can help other passengers by offering out your spare seats. If you need a lift, log a journey alert now at Liftshare.com, and you’ll be emailed as soon as someone says they’re going your way.
Author Lex Barber