Under the terms of the Integrated Kent Franchise Agreement, Govia (65% Go-Ahead/35% Keolis) has accepted continuation of the ‘Southeastern’ rail franchise.
The Department of Transport formally offered the continuation after Southeastern met performance criteria set out in the franchise agreement. The franchise will now run to 31 March 2014.
Keith Ludeman, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead and Chairman of Govia, said:
“We are pleased that this important franchise, which carries over a 160 million passengers a year, will run to 2014.
“In the first five years of this franchise Southeastern has increased the number of train services operated across the region and customer satisfaction has risen. It has successfully introduced the UK’s first domestic high speed service and independent research shows that passengers using this service are the most satisfied in the UK. More than £10m has been invested in employee training and development, £40m on improvements at stations and £174m on new high speed trains for the region.
“Our focus will be on continuing to further improve punctuality and reliability of our services for passengers. In the past four weeks Southeastern has delivered in excess of 90% punctuality across the network. Southeastern is committed to increasing customer satisfaction, particularly through ensuring more effective passenger communication – especially in times of disruption. This continuation will allow us to further invest and improve performance.”
From the summer this year Southeastern will move to the ‘delay repay’ compensation scheme, meaning that any passengers delayed by 30 minutes or more can claim compensation. This brings it into line with Govia’s other rail franchises. This is an arrangement that will be welcomed by passengers and rail user groups. Also, from 23 May 2011, Southeastern will be introducing a new high speed service for Maidstone, which we believe will be welcomed by passengers and local stakeholders in Kent’s County Town.