Dartford MP hopes new south eastern rail franchise holder will bring expansion of smart ticketing

PUBLISHED: 15:48 22 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 22 June 2017

Southeastern passengers can still have their say on the future of the franchise in a government consultation

Southeastern passengers can still have their say on the future of the franchise in a government consultation


Dartford was brought into the Oyster card zone in 2015

Dartford MP Gareth JohnsonDartford MP Gareth Johnson

Passengers on board Dartford’s train services should be able to use smart ticketing under a new franchise holder, the town’s MP has urged.

Speaking after the government announced four applicants to take over the south eastern rail franchise, Gareth Johnson said the decision on who should take over rail services in December 2018 was “hugely important for the economy of the south east”

Current owners Southeastern currently rank second bottom in the country for customer satisfaction.

Thursday morning saw the government announce four companies which are hoping to get their hands on the franchise in 18 months time, including Southeastern Govia, which has made an application under London and South East Passenger Rail Services Ltd.

Italian firm Trenitalia, which already owns Essex train operating company c2c, ranked fourth in the country for customer satisfaction, has been revealed as one of the applicants, along with South Eastern Holdings Limited, which will see Dutch Abellio Transport Group Limited partner with East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Limited if handed the franchise.

Abellio already operates Greater Anglia services, and this year came fourth bottom in a customer satisfaction survey.

The final applicant is Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish transport firm Stagecoach Group, which has operated trains in the south west and east midlands since the 1990s.

Unphased by the backgrounds of each company, Mr Johnson said: “I know as a commuter myself how frustrating the current service can be sometimes, the Department for Transport will have to take a look at what each bid is promising and how they plan to achieve it, and make a decision from there.

“As a commuter town Dartford people need more a reliable service with more space available, I’d also like to see the expansion of smart ticketing from Dartford, where we already have the Oyster.

“There is a consultation running until June 30 on the local service and I would encourage people to respond to it and ensure their views are heard by the Department for Transport.”

To respond to the consultation, click here.

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