London Assembly members have expressed concern at the apparent lack of progress in plans to hand over more rail services to Transport for London.
The agency already has responsibility for the popular London Overground and Docklands Light Railway and will oversee the new Elizabeth Line when it opens.
Both the Overground and DLR are operated by outside firms under contract to TfL which sets fares and service levels and uses contract penalties to ensure performance levels meet passenger expectations.
The Elizabeth Line, also known as Crossrail, will operate under the same system.
Other rail services in the capital are currently operated by companies appointed by the Department for Transport, but AMs, former Mayor Boris Johnson and successor Sadiq Khan have all called for these to also be handed over to TfL.
In January it looked as if ministers had finally been persuaded when Mr Johnson and former Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin jointly published a document outlining how the DfT would work with TfL “to improve rail services across the Capital and its surrounding regions.”
The wide-ranging document included proposals to “transfer of responsibility from the DfT to TfL for inner suburban rail services that operate mostly or wholly within Greater London, as current franchises fall due for renewal.”
One of the first government controlled routes due to be re-let is the South Eastern franchise which comes up for renewal in 2018.
However to date there has been no public confirmation that any work is underway to hand the service over to TfL and requests by Assembly Members for updates have gone unheeded.
A letter sent by the Assembly’s transport committee in July to Mr McLoughlin, who has since left the Department, has so far not been answered and AMs have now written to successor Chris Grayling expressing “concern” at the “lack of communication”.
Committee chair Caroline Pidgeon says the Government’s failure to respond is “worrying,” especially in light of the performance problems affecting Southern.
As well as backing Mayor Khan’s calls for Southern to be devolved to TfL “ as soon as practical,” she has also asked for a “full update” on plans for wider rail devolution in London.