Sevenoaks commuters told same rail company will continue operating the Southeastern franchise
The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded a Direct Award Contract to Govia (a subsidiary of the Go Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%) to continue operating the Southeastern franchise which includes the rail routes through Sevenoaks.
The new contract commences on 1 April 2020 and will run until 16 October 2021, with the option to extend at the DfT’s discretion until 31 March 2022. Southeastern says it will continue its immediate focus on providing services for key workers during the coronavirus crisis.
The rail company also says that during the course of the contract term Southeastern will deliver a range of customer experience improvements including exploring options to boost capacity in the short-term as additional rolling stock becomes available, and continued partnership with Network Rail to develop a longer-term capacity, rolling stock and punctuality strategy for the Southeastern network beyond 2022.
The new arrangement is a management contract, reflecting the DfT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced on 23 March 2020 removing exposure to changes in passenger demand and costs. Punctuality on Southeastern has increased by nearly 10% in the last two years, and customer satisfaction hit a six-year high (81%) in the most recent National Rail Passenger Survey.
David Statham, Southeastern Managing Director, said: “We continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that services are available to get people working in healthcare, food and other vital public services where they need to be. When customers are able to begin travelling as normal, we look forward to reconnecting our communities and further improving capacity, performance and customer satisfaction”.