Boris Johnson has called on the Government to hand him control London’s suburban railways in an effort to boost performance.
Citing the success of the London Overground which was opened in 2007, the Mayor says he can provide more reliable and frequent services, safer and cleaner staffed stations while saving “millions of pounds”.
London Overground is consistently one of the highest performing rail services in the UK and enjoys high passenger satisfaction levels.
City Hall says Transport for London has identified Southeastern and West Anglia “as priorities for devolution when those franchises come up for renewal in 2014.”
The Mayor’s call echoes that of Labour’s Mayoral candidate Ken Livingtstone who last month said he wanted to create a “world class rail service” in the capital by taking over non-TfL rail services.
On Monday Mayor Johnson, said: “The fractured organisation of London’s suburban railways is totally inefficient and needs a complete overhaul.
“My vision is for one integrated suburban service operating to the standards we have demonstrated can be achieved on London Overground, which is now one of the most reliable and popular railways in the UK.
“There are 85 million trips each year on London’s rail network that could benefit from this approach. Devolving the commercial franchises would allow us to invest millions of pounds in improving stations and to simplify the ticketing system.”
David Leibling, Vice Chair of passenger watchdog London TravelWatch welcomed the Mayor’s comments and said further TfL control of rail services “is something London TravelWatch has been advocating for several years.”
Leibling added: “We hope that today’s proposal will lead to all London’s rail services reaching the much improved quality of London Overground services since TfL took over, with decent standards for stations, enhanced ticketing facilities, additional staffing where appropriate and improved passenger information.