Is the end nigh for Waterloo East?

We’re working hard on our response to Network Rail’s Kent Route Study. Buried in that document are long-term plans for the redevelopment of Charing Cross station over the river in the style of the new Blackfriars. It then says: “A new link to Waterloo from a southern entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing the station area to be used for additional track capacity”. 

In other words, Waterloo East station could be demolished. Continue reading

Knockholt & Halstead may get much reduced replacement bus service

Arriva’s proposal to axe the 402 bus between Sevenoaks and Bromley has attracted a lot of local criticism. The plan continues to be surprising as our own observations have shown that in the morning between Sevenoaks and Knockholt there are always more than 10 passengers on the hourly service.

It appears that Kent County Council have now agreed with Go-Coach to support a limited replacement service number 431 from July. This will do three round trips in the middle of the day between Sevenoaks and Orpington (in addition to the existing schools service). Continue reading

SRTA sets out proposals for 2018 Southeastern Franchise

The Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association has responded to the Consultation Paper on the 2018 Franchise.

Our recommendations for the next Franchise include:

  • the extension of the Oyster-Contactless system to Dunton Green and Sevenoaks.
  • a “carnet” ticket system for part-time and flexible workers.
  • an obligation that ticket machines should sell the cheapest ticket for the journey.
  • staffing at all stations and station toilets to be open throughout train service hours.
  • a “turn up and go” service for assisted travel.
  • all-night services from London via Sevenoaks to Tunbridge Wells.
  • an additional refund for season ticket holders in case of chronic under-performance.
  • measuring performance by whether customers are on time, not whether trains are on time
  • recycling into a performance improvement fund excess compensation paid by Network Rail to Southeastern.
  • representatives of customers and of local authorities on the board of the operating company.
Continue reading

Second fare rise this year from Southeastern: what’s going on?

Southeastern are slipping in a second rise in fares this year. Some popular fares are going up by 3.4% from 21 May – so an off-peak return from Sevenoaks to London Terminals rises from £11.90 to £12.30.  That’s in addition to the increase from £11.70 at the beginning of January.

They’ve tried to keep it very quiet: there was no advance publicity and an email to stakeholders on 2 May did not mention it at all. One of our members asked about it last Saturday, and the BBC spilled the beans on Tuesday. Although Southeastern told the BBC that they do not “routinely announce fare rises”, Southeastern did later put out a press release. Continue reading

Management Made Easy at Southeastern

Winning the lottery would also be easier if one knew the winning numbers before buying the ticket …

In the Direct Award period 2014-2018 Southeastern committed to greater transparency. Part of this has been to publish monthly performance targets and actual figures by route.

However the targets are only published at the same time as the actual performance is also published. This has always raised the question of whether the targets are actually set in advance.

Now we know. For the 1-29 April (Period 1) figures the actual performance has now been published, but the Southeastern website states that target figures are coming “soon” and explicitly says (archived version):

“Please note that targets for Period 1 have not been finalised yet. “

It’s not clear how setting targets after the end of the period in question helps drive improvement in performance. But it should make meeting them much easier!