May 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, June 29, 2012
Mayor of London Boris Johnson is using the success of London Overground as a model for the capital’s suburban rail services being brought under his control.
Mr Johnson has submitted proposals for a takeover of train routes to the government.
He argues that under mayoral management passengers would benefit from more frequent and reliable services, simpler ticketing, cleaner and safer stations and better standards of customer service.
It would also boost the capital’s competitiveness by delivering major improvements to mainline rail services, supporting economic growth and jobs for Londoners, he says.
In addition, the Mayor states that bringing the franchises under the control of his office would save millions of pounds, which would be reinvested into further improving the network.
The Southeastern and Greater Anglia franchises are particularly in the Mayor’s sights, with potential savings of £100m over 20 years.
Currently, with the exception of the London Overground network, rail services into the capital are provided by several private train operating companies, each with their own franchise agreement with central government.
Mr Johnson said: “London’s rail passengers deserve far better service than the current franchises deliver and the economic benefits of properly investing in our rail infrastructure are huge.
‘An efficient rail service is vital in order to remain competitive in challenging economic times, helping to usher in greater prosperity in the future, not just for the capital but for UK PLC.
‘This plan gives us the opportunity to create a truly joined up suburban railway system that would vastly improve service and deliver better stations.
“A more coherent London-wide structure would bring more frequent trains, safer stations and sanity to a mind bogglingly complex fare system.’
Since Transport for London and the Mayor took over running London Overground in 2007, reliability has increased to 96 per cent and customer satisfaction is at 90 per cent.
Demand has trebled since TfL took over the network and is forecast to grow by a further 34 per cent by 2020.