Meeting Southeastern

Michael met senior managers at Southeastern to discuss constituents’ complaints about the new timetables, overcrowding and out of use toilets.

He told Southeastern that it had to do better. He asked whether Southeastern could offer additional peak time services to London alongside Thameslink to give commuters more choice. Southeastern have offered to keep the new timetable changes under review to work with Thameslink to make further adjustments later.

Sir Michael said: “I have emphasised my concerns with overcrowding and the need to keep improving punctuality. Passenger numbers have increased significantly since privatisation, but the quality of service needs to reflect the high fares commuter pay. I will continue to make this case to Ministers as the next Kent franchise is prepared and awarded.”

Fighting for Sevenoaks Commuters

Michael has vowed to continue fighting for rail travellers ahead of the new May 2018 timetable.

He met senior directors from Thameslink recently and complained that commuters to London and children heading to school in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells would be inconvenienced by the new timings.

In response, Thameslink made clear that it would provide the same number of services to London, though some timings are altered.  The new 700 trains would double capacity to 1,000 seats.  There was an extensive consultation last summer, with over 100 responses from this section of the line and the Sevenoaks Rail Passengers Association were involved.  The timetables had been co-ordinated closely with Southeastern, who share an office with Thameslink.

Sir Michael said: “The consultation wasn’t thorough enough.  Too many people have been inconvenienced.  I have insisted that Thameslink be prepared to make changes to the timetables if there is sufficient evidence that particular services can be re-timed in ways that create more winners and losers.  Timetables are revised again in December, and I am asking those who have complained to me to see if they can identify particular changes that could help.”