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Southeastern awarded new contract

Govia today welcomes the announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) that its train operating company, Southeastern, will continue to run the South Eastern franchise until June 2018.

A ‘Direct Award’ contract has been agreed which will see a host of schemes rolled out over the next three and a half years to improve train services and the passenger experience. The new franchise runs from 12 October 2014 to 24 June 2018. 

David Brown, Go-Ahead Chief Executive said: “We’re pleased that the government has put its confidence in Southeastern to deliver further enhancements for passengers. The plans to be delivered offer benefits for passengers, taxpayers and the communities that we serve.

“Today’s announcement is an endorsement of our record of delivering improving train services, record investment in the route network, better customer service and strong passenger growth over the last eight years. In that time our stations have seen over £100 million worth of improvements, making them more accessible, safer and easier to use, and we’ve delivered the UK’s first ever domestic Highspeed service and expanded its reach to include more stations in Kent.

“There’s no doubt that the next three years will be a challenging period, with the major service changes required to accommodate the redevelopment work at London Bridge. This work is vital to enhance connections across London and is part of the £6.5 billion government-sponsored Thameslink Programme. The changes to the 2015 timetable will help customers make the journeys they need to throughout the duration of these works. 

“The schemes announced today have been agreed by government and our key objectives are to continue to deliver improvements for passengers, assist commuters through the period of change that the Thameslink Programme presents over the coming three years, and continue to attract and encourage new customers to use our services.”

The highlights over the course of the franchise include:

New and improve services

  • A new timetable delivering more Highspeed services, and new journey opportunities designed to help passengers during the three year rebuild of London Bridge station as part of the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme.
  • Changes to services, announced in June, include (but are not limited to):
    • A new Highspeed ‘rounder’ loop service calling at more stations and extra seats during the peak hour (with 698 seats at Ashford in the morning peak and 349 extra seats from Ebbsfleet.)
    • A new Hastings to London fast train service in the morning and evening peak
    • A new direct service between Maidstone East and Canterbury West
    • More services between Dartford and London Victoria A new through service between Sheerness-on-Sea and London Victoria in the peak
    • A new Blackfriars to Maidstone East service

More staff

  • Up to 75 extra staff will be hired and deployed to gatelines at key stations 
  • 170 more customer service staff at key stations throughout each major timetable change to help passengers with information and provide advice on alternative travel options. 
  • The opening hours of Cannon Street station will be extended so that staff are available between 04.30 and 01.30 and to accommodate services running into the station later in the day

Better information

  • Train crew and  station gateline staff will be given tablet devices to ensure better access to train service information (by 31 July 2015);
  • 20 new information screens will be installed at key stations to enhance the way information is shared during disruption (by 1 April 2015)

More value offers and ticketing

  • More discount fares for off-peak travel 
  • We will work with TfL to seek to have Dartford and Swanley stations included in the TfL Oyster Travelcard area, and use Oyster to store ticket value for Highspeed journeys between St Pancras International and Stratford International
  • Investing a further £4.8 million in station improvements 
  • Carry out a deep clean of all stations (by 30 September 2015)
  • Enhancing the Eyewitness and CCTV monitoring service 
  • Installing 63 more self service ticket machines at stations
  • Installing ticket gatelines at Staplehurst and Swanley stations (by 31 December 2016)

Southeastern record of achievement since 2006

  • Successfully delivered the UK’s first ever domestic Highspeed service, increasing passenger numbers travelling from stations such as Ashford, Dover and Canterbury by an average of 47% since its launch in 2009
  • Seamless London 2012 Olympic train service, including the Highspeed ‘Javelin’ service – carrying 20 percent more people and best ever performance of 92% on time running.
  • Grown passenger numbers by 32% since 2006
  • Delivered more capacity with 200 extra services a day, and in doing so managed the biggest timetable change in 40 years
  • £117 million worth of improvements made to stations (through partnership funding)
  • Reduced overall crime on our network by 44% since 2006
  • Over 100 stations recognised for safety under the Safer Stations Scheme
  • Investors in People Champions three years running
  • Awarded 5 stars by the British Quality Foundation for quality business management
  • 68 apprentices employed – supporting young people in employment
  • Best-ever fleet reliability delivered by an multi-award winning engineering team

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