Transport User Voice – Boosting the ambition of future South Eastern train services

25 April 2017

Passengers on Britain’s fourth largest franchise are calling for a service they can depend on in the new South Eastern franchise.

We’ve been out and about sharing our latest research making the case for a better deal for Kent, East Sussex and south east London passengers when the new franchise begins in 2018.

In our research we spoke to passengers about their experiences of services and hopes for the future franchise. Commuters told us they want more punctual, reliable services with enough room to sit and stand. When things go wrong passengers also want the next franchise operator to deal with delays more effectively. Off-peak passengers said they would like to see cleaner, more comfortable trains, improved facilities at stations and visible, helpful and empowered staff.

With commuters making up two-thirds of the demand, and most travelling into London in peak hours, we’re eager to see how future bidders for the franchise deal with passengers’ concerns about getting a seat. Commuters in London and the South East, who face particular challenges just getting on to trains, have told us their main concern is space to board the train and stand in safety and comfort.

While High Speed passengers perceive their service as a premium product they expect to see improvements like Wi-Fi included as part of the service. Providing an adequate number of carriages with a layout that meets the range of needs of all passengers travelling across the South Eastern network is also an important requirement for the new franchise.

As with other franchises, we will be looking for innovation in modern ways to buy tickets and improved compensation when things go wrong. This is a great opportunity to boost the quality of South Eastern passengers’ experience of their railway.

Our research, South Eastern rail franchise: what passengers want, can be found here. We will use this to ensure the franchise reflects passengers’ needs and help prospective bidders propose ambitious and high-quality proposals.

More details on how you can have your say as part of the Department for Transport South Eastern Franchise consultation can be found here.

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