Sadiq Khan has urged Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to end the “daily misery” of Southeastern railway passengers and hand over the company’s metro services to Transport for London.
Surveys show Southeastern currently has one of the lowest recorded passenger satisfaction scores (75%) of any British rail operator.
That score is significantly below TfL’s London Overground service (88%) but higher than the TfL Rail service (69%) which will eventually be folded into the new Crossrail service and gain a fleet of new, high-tech trains.
In a letter to Mr Grayling, who has previously walked away from a rail devolution pact signed by the Government and former mayor Boris Johnson, Mr Khan describes recent performance on Southeastern services as “mediocre at best”.
He also draws a comparison between the high performance levels achieved by London Overground and other operators, highlighting his agency’s commitment to station staffing, the guarantee of a turn-up-and-go service and deep cleans and improved facilities at stations.
With the announcement of a new Southeastern franchise operator now delayed until November, the Mayor has urged the Secretary of State “to seize this crucial opportunity for a fresh approach” and hand over services to TfL.
Mr Khan said: “These passengers deserve so much better than they are currently getting and I believe now is the time for a fresh start.
“The Government could make the most of this delay by working with me to put passengers first by transferring responsibility for contracting these Metro services to TfL.
“Their expertise would provide the more frequent and reliable services these passengers are crying out for.”
A spokesman for Southeastern said: “Decisions on the way rail franchises are structured and awarded are made by Government.
“We’ve invested £80m to improve our services since 2014, including 68 extra carriages to boost capacity on our busiest services, nearly £5m in station refurbishments, and new ‘Customer Ambassadors’ to help assist passengers with their journeys.
“Working together, the partnership railway is securing £9.2bn of extra economic benefit for passengers, communities and employees in London and the South East.”