The needs of rail users in London and across the south-east are to be put at the centre of the South Central franchise with Ministers promising better services for passengers.
The promises were made yesterday as Transport Minister Lord Adonis announced new requirements for the South Central franchise and said passengers in South London and parts of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire will benefit from more trains on key lines.
CCTV is to be installed on all trains and an additional 500 extra secure cycling bays and 1,000 extra parking spaces will be provided and stations across the network – including every one in south London – will be refurbished.
Proposed service enhancements include a new hourly Brighton to Southampton service on Sundays and 4 trains per hour on most routes in South London to around 2300 Monday to Saturday. The new service requirements have been agreed with rail passenger watchdog Passenger focus.
Lord Adonis commented: “The South Central franchise provides a vital commuter link into London from the South coast and provides important linkages into South Coast towns such as Hastings and Worthing and so it is essential we give passengers access to the best facilities.”
“By setting more robust requirements for bidders, we are ensuring future rail passengers have frequent and reliable services that are comfortable and safe.”
Passengers in London will also benefit from a requirement to accept Oyster pay as you go and a number of stations including Peckham Rye and South Croydon will have ticket gates installed to reduce fare evasion.
TfL’s Managing Director London Rail, Ian Brown said the body would be providing additional funding for the franchise to “pay for a programme of cleaning and repairs to stations within the London area, as well as additional staff and more cycle parking.”
Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive warned the successful bidder would under a strict supervision regime to ensure passengers benefited: “The successful operator will be required to set passenger satisfaction targets for stations, trains, customer service and information which will be assessed twice a year through Passenger Focus’s National Passenger Survey. The new train company will have to report on its scores at railway stations and will be fined if targets are not met.”