Campaigners and passenger groups have come together to demand improvements to rail services to the south east of London, including a fairer deal for part-time commuters.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CfBT) and South East passenger groups have produced a charter in response to the Government’s public consultation on what it will demand from a new train operator on the South Eastern franchise.
The Better South Eastern Charter calls for flexible tickets for part-time commuters, cheaper fares, more train carriages and station upgrades on the franchise, which serves south east London and parts of Kent and East Sussex. The current franchise under Southeastern ends in December 2018.
Lianna Etkind from CfBT said: ‘Southeastern passengers are currently being overcharged to wait in poorly kept stations with limited facilities and then be squeezed onto packed trains.
‘This is not acceptable and this charter makes the case for people and communities across the South East to have the reliable, affordable and high-quality rail service they deserve. Our charter demands were developed by people who use the service every day.’
Emma Stewart, joint CEO of Timewise, which supports flexible working, said: ‘Making season tickets fairer for the one in four people who work part-time is long overdue. Why should we pay higher costs for commuting to work?’
CfBT said Southeastern has some of the worst passenger satisfaction in the UK. Last November transport secretary Chris Grayling provoked controversy when he backtracked on his predecessor's plans to devolve suburban services within the franchise to the London mayor.
Other signatories to the charter are Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association, Tonbridge Line Commuters, Cycling UK, Living Streets, National Pensioners Convention, Rural Services Network, Transport for All and Work Wise UK.
It has six demands:
- A fairer deal for part-time commuters
- Value for money with a commitment to always sell the cheapest ticket for a journey
- Better stations with accessibility upgrades and improved integration with cycling, local buses and TfL services
- Better train services with extra carriages and accurate up to date information for passengers
- Excellent customer service with trained, visible staff on trains and at stations to provide assistance and give passengers security
- Monitoring and enforcement with fines if the train company falls short of its commitments.