I welcome the launch of the Government’s competition for companies to take over the south east rail network.
The plans will boost capacity with space for at least an extra 40,000 passengers per day as well as promising improved, longer, more comfortable trains and fast wifi connectivity by 2022. Other upgrades that the new train operating company will be required to introduce include compensation after 15 minutes’ delay on a train, down from 30 minutes, and better communication during disruptions. First class seats will also be abolished on all services within 18 months.
I ran a survey last year asking people what changes they wanted to see on the trains. By far the biggest concern was that rail wasn’t good value for money. I hope that the improvements will make travelling on a train more enjoyable experience so that passengers really get value for their money.
Companies have now been invited to present their plans to deliver the Government's new requirements today as part of the Transport Secretary's new strategic vision for rail.
The requirements for the company taking over come after a consultation during the summer, in which I called for better value fares, improved compensation, tougher penalties for unreliable trains and more accessible travel for people with disabilities.
You can read more on the Department for Transport's website.
Photo credit: MattBuck