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Consultation on future of south eastern franchise EXTENDED in light of general election

PUBLISHED: 11:28 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:28 23 May 2017

Southeastern train

Southeastern train

Archant

The franchise is currently held by Southeastern, part of the Go Ahead group

Passengers using the south eastern rail service have been given an extra month to have their say on what they expect from the next franchise.

Currently, the service is run by Southeastern, part of the Go Ahead group, but in July next year, the government will announce a new franchise holder from whichever companies apply to take over the troubled train line, with the successful applicant taking over in December 2018, when the current contract expires.

In January, Southeastern ranked as the second-worst rail firm in the country for customer satisfaction.

Before companies can apply to take over, the government is asking passengers for their views on proposed changes to the services.

The consultation was due to end at 11.45pm tonight (Tuesday, May 23) but in light of the general election, which has placed government departments into purdah, the closing date has been moved back to June 30.

The change of date means public consultation events which had to be cancelled as they conflicted with the general election, can now take place.

New dates have not been established for the events, which will explain some of the proposals in the consultation.

In its document, found here, the Department for Transport has put forward a number of suggestions including the controversial proposal to cut Bexleyheath and Dartford line services to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Victoria, so trains to London would only run to Cannon Street.

Other suggestions have included removing First Class travel and potentially closing some smaller train stations across the service.

Responding to a 28,000-topping petition calling on government not to remove any Londonbound services, a DfT spokesperson said: “We are seeking passengers’ views on the principle of reducing the choice of London termini to provide a more regular timetable and reliable service. We are not proposing to cut specific services.”

Go Ahead have previously told us they expect to put in an application to renew its hold on the service.

The government consultation now closes at 11.45pm on June 30.

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