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Petition urging government not to slash rail services from Kent to central London reaches 16,000 signatures

PUBLISHED: 15:06 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 05 April 2017

There are severe delays between Barking and Gospel Oak this evening.

There are severe delays between Barking and Gospel Oak this evening.

Archant

A consultation proposes all Metro services on the north Kent (between Dartford and Charlton), Greenwich and Bexleyheath lines terminate at Cannon Street only

More than 16,000 people have now signed a petition urging the government not to slash rail services from Kent to central London in the next south eastern rail franchise.

A consultation was launched last month while inviting bids for the next franchise holder to begin in December 2018.

In the document is a proposal for all Metro services on the north Kent (between Dartford and Charlton), Greenwich and Bexleyheath lines to terminate at Cannon Street only, with bosses believing the simplicity of a regular service to a single London terminal throughout the day “would benefit both regular and occasional passengers”.

However, the response appears to be overwhelmingly negative, with Labour MP Clive Efford telling transport secretary Chris Grayling last week that passengers across Kent, Bromley and Bexley were “incandescent with rage” over the proposals.

A petition was then launched, and has received almost 17,000 signatures of support in a matter of days after claiming the plans would make the lives of passengers “a misery”.

However, Mr Grayling objected to the criticism, insisting the Department for Transport’s document was only proposing suggestions, that would be re-evaluated following feedback from passengers and the wider public.

The consultation is already under-fire as the DfT was forced to admit some housing figures in the document were “too low” in a letter to Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, Teresa Pearce.

The proposals have also been criticised by local members of Mr Grayling’s own party, with Dartford MP Gareth Johnson describing them as “unacceptable”.

The government has to issue a response to petitions that receive more than 10,000 signatures.

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