Sadiq Khan has ‘walked away’ from transport secretary Chris Grayling’s ‘fundamentally flawed’ plans for improving commuter rail services in the capital.
The Mayor of London has declined Mr Grayling’s invitation for a Transport for London (TfL) employee to work with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the South Eastern refranchising process, which Mr Grayling offered when rejecting plans to devolve South Eastern suburban services to TfL
London mayor Sadiq Khan
Mr Khan said experience showed it was not possible to drive up reliability using the Government’s approach, 'as the franchising model does not allow the level of control that commuters deserve'.
He said: ‘Sadly the Government’s proposals for commuter rail services are no different to what we’ve seen before and I fear passengers will face more years of unacceptable service levels. It is a repeatedly tried and failed approach.
‘I am therefore left with no choice but to walk away from the Government’s fundamentally flawed plans.’
He added: ‘It’s not too late for the transport secretary to change his mind and deliver proper devolution for the good of long-suffering commuters inside and outside of London.’
In a letter to Mr Grayling, the mayor said the Government’s plans for commuter rail services were based on an outdated model of ‘one-size-fits-all’ franchises, while his proposals would see separate contracts that recognise the different needs of London’s suburban routes and longer distance commuter services.
The DfT said it was disappointed that Mr Khan had refused the offer of partnership working.
A spokesperson said: 'His business plan for the South Eastern train routes provided no extra capacity in peak hours, and there was no funding identified for improvements to infrastructure.'
He added: 'Just this week the leader of Kent County Council raised concerns about TFL being given control over services for people who could not vote for the Mayor.'