Petition to strip Southeastern of rail franchise gathers momentum
PUBLISHED: 10:01 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 13:18 15 January 2016
More than 6,000 people have signed the online petition
An online petition to strip Southeastern of its rail franchise has gathered more than half of the signatures needed for a government response.
“Remove the rail franchise from South Eastern” was started up earlier this month, and has already collected more than 6,000 signatures.
For the government to respond to a petition, it needs 10,000 signatures, and for a debate in parliament, 100,000 signatures are needed.
Passengers for the rail service which serves Kent and south east London, have sufferred this week as one train line was closed for three days after engineers failed to meet a deadline to fix damage from a landslide.
The rail service was also criticised in the national press this week, for train delays caused by sunny weather.
Alongside the petition a statement reads: “Southeastern consistently let down their paying customers, cancelling trains strategically so they don’t have to pay refunds, whilst making £12.8m in profit.
“Their customer service is beyond useless and the people of the South East have suffered for long enough.”
The petition is currently set to run out on June 3.
As of today (Friday) The Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency currently has the highest number of people signing the petition followed by Bexleyheath and Crayford, while it gathers storm in Sevenoaks, Dartford, Orpington, Beckenham and the Bromley and Chislehurst constituency.
Across Kent each constituency has a number of people supporting the petition, with the lowest support still showing 10 signatures in South Thanet.
David Statham, managing director of Southeastern said: “We understand it has been a difficult few weeks for passengers due to a series of problems, many of which have been caused by faults with the infrastructure we use.
“A number of these were weather related, such as the line closure between Folkestone and Dover due to heavy storms damaging the sea wall, as well as landslides at Barnehurst and Wadhurst.
“Signalling and track circuit failures have also caused delays during peak time travel. All of these have caused frustration for passengers and we would like to reassure them Network Rail works hard to solve infrastructure problems when they happen.
“Undoubtedly, these issues have helped prompt passengers to start a petition. While decisions on awarding a franchise to a train company are a matter for the Department for Transport, we are committed to bringing about improvement.
“Since starting the franchise in 2006, more trains now run on the network than ever before, we have seen passenger numbers increase by around 40 per cent and we have started and continue to run Britain’s only domestic high speed service. This achieves some of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the country.
“In addition, we are investing more than £70million. This includes refurbishing hundreds of our trains, repainting and carrying out maintenance at stations and bringing in more frontline employees. We have also invested heavily on new equipment, such as information screens and extra ticket machines, to make it easier for passengers.”
To sign the petition, or to see where people are signing from, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/114277