Oyster card expansion could come further into Kent as Sadiq Khan pushes for rail devolution

11:03 14 October 2016

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

PA Wire/Press Association Images

TfL could takeover Southeastern services in 2018

This is how Kent's services could look under TfL controlThis is how Kent's services could look under TfL control

The business case for a transformation of Kent’s rail services is being heard today.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is backing Transport for London to take over running trains outside the capital, in a bid to improve services.

Today the Labour mayor will be putting the business case to transport secretary Chris Grayling.

“For too long, London’s rail commuters have been getting a bad service - with nightmare delays, cancellations and overcrowding increasingly the norm on our suburban rail routes” commented Mr Khan.

Matthew BalfourMatthew Balfour

“Today’s business case sets out in detail the huge benefits Londoners will feel from devolving suburban rail routes to TfL.

“Our plans will not only use TfL’s skills and expertise to improve the daily commute for millions of Londoners, but as act as a catalyst for new jobs and homes in outer London.”

Under TfL, a number of stations would be able to use Oyster Cards.

These are:

• Stone Crossing

• Greenhithe for Bluewater

• Swanscombe

• Northfleet

• Gravesend

• Dunton Green

• Sevenoaks

In January, the government agreed in principle the further devolution of suburban rail services.

Under proposals, Tfl could take over Southeastern services in 2018.

Earlier this year, Southeastern was ranked as one of the worst services for passenger satisfaction.

Labour and Conservative politicians are united in their support, including county councillor for transport Matthew Balfour.

Welcoming proposals, Cllr Balfour said: “We are pleased that Tfl accepted our non-negotiable ‘red lines’ as a starting point for discussions, and as a result, rail commuters are set to reap a series of benefits.”

The ‘red lines’ outlined by KCC told TfL the council would not accept a reduction in service levels, adding there must ‘be no detrimental effect on Kent’s rail fares’ should a transfer take place.

The DfT’s timetable for existing franchises means that Southeastern services could be transferred to the Mayor when the current franchise ends in 2018.

According to the mayor’s office, potential improvements would include:

• More frequent services, including increasing services longer term between Orpington and Victoria from six to eight trains an hour, and trains from Bexleyheath to London from seven trains to nine trains per hour

• Integrated fares and ticketing, with any freeze in TfL fares also being applied to devolved rail routes within London.

• Cleaner, refurbished and safer stations with all day staffing, turn up and go services for those with accessibility needs, and more reliable trains

• Installing more ticket gates, introducing Oyster and contactless payment where they’re not already available, and providing more or better ticket machines

• Integrated branding and information for passengers across London’s entire public transport network, including adding newly devolved stations/lines to the Tube map

• Better links between London rail services and the local communities they serve, with better coordinated decision-making across rail networks, and closer collaboration with local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

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