SRTA Chairman Tony Clayton, Vice-Chairman Roger Johnson and Committee Member Merilyn Canet recently met the Greater London Assembly Transport Committee to discuss the extension of TfL services to Sevenoaks. The Committee had asked to meet us as part of their investigation into rail services in London and the possible transfer of Southeastern Metro services to TfL.
It was clear that the GLA share our view of the advantages of TfLs business model and the likely benefits, including not only the full flexibility of the Oyster system but also higher quality services, manned stations and a continuing commitment to improvement. The GLA also share our view that a transfer should bring benefits for Kent and for London.
Sevenoaks District Council, represented by Council Leader Peter Fleming, Portfolio Holder for Economic & Community Development Roderick Hogarth and Planning Director Richard Wilson were also extremely supportive of the proposals.
We reminded the GLA that it will be important to ensure that, once Sevenoaks and Swanley are covered by Oyster, all the intervening stations on the Darenth Valley line from Bat and Ball to Eynsford remain on a permitted route from Sevenoaks to London, and we need to ensure it stays that way and that tickets remain interoperable. Ideally Oyster should be usable along the Darenth Valley line too – and that would be in line with the Oyster extensions already planned by the new Thameslink franchise to Epsom, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport, Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North.
We will be working with the GLA and others to persuade the Department for Transport of the need for change, and on issues of future governance, both on a strategic and operational level.