Network backs call for better rail services

The Rural Services Network has signed a charter demanding a better deal for rail passengers in south-east England.

Passenger groups across the South East are uniting behind the charter, which calls for improvements to South Eastern Rail services.

Issues covered include flexible tickets for part-time commuters, cheaper fares, more train carriages and station upgrades.

The Better South Eastern Charter is in response to a public consultation launched by the government.

The consultation came as the government looks for a new train operator to run the franchise after the current contract ends in December 2018.

Southeastern, which currently operates the franchise covering south east London and parts of Kent and East Sussex, has some of the worst passenger satisfaction in the UK.

The Charter was initiated by the Campaign for Better Transport.

Signatories include the Rural Services Network, Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association, Tonbridge Line Commuters, Cycling UK, Living Streets, National Pensioners Convention, Timewise, Transport for All and Work Wise UK.

It has six demands:

* A fairer deal for part-time commuters
* Value for money with a commitment to always sell the cheapest ticket for a journey
* Better stations with accessibility upgrades and improved integration with cycling, local buses and TfL services
* Better train services with extra carriages and accurate up to date information for passengers
* Excellent customer service with trained, visible staff on trains and at stations to provide assistance and give passengers security
* Monitoring and enforcement with fines if the train company falls short of its commitments.

Lianna Etkind, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: "Southeastern passengers are currently being overcharged to wait in poorly kept stations with limited facilities and then be squeezed onto packed trains.

"This is not acceptable and this Charter makes the case for people and communities across the South East to have the reliable, affordable and high-quality rail service they deserve.

"Our Charter demands were developed by people who use the service every day. If the Government is serious about its stated ambition to put the passenger at the heart of this new franchise, it would do well to take note."

The Campaign for Better Transport has set up an online form to make it easier for people to respond to the government consultation. The form is available here.


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