Adam was slaving away over a hot webcast from City Hall this morning, when Transport for London’s board met. TfL commissioner Peter Hendy told the meeting – and his boss Boris Johnson – just what he thought of Southeastern’s “emergency timetable” during last month’s snow. Southeastern’s decision to start trains late and stop them early was “odd”, “unecessary” and “bizarre”, he said.
I think the first train from Bexleyheath to London for the first full week in January was half past eight in the morning which is pretty odd especially when established railway practice, when you have got third rail operation in cold weather, is to run your trains all night. So it seems a bit bizarre to actually turf people off them and run without them all night.
Mr Hendy also suggested Southeastern’s motivation in running such a restricted timetable was to get “a very good performance result” – ie, to prevent it having to refund passengers for poor service. More at Tory Troll.
On Monday, the London Assembly’s transport committee published the reply it had from Southeastern (PDF, 1.3MB), in which the train company claimed it was instructed by Network Rail to curtail services (it’d previously claimed it’d taken the decision in conjunction with Network Rail) and with the outright lie that its “service frequencies were similar to normal off-peak frequencies” (emergency timetable: 2 trains per hour, Greenwich line timetable: 6 or 8 trains per hour) and the claim that its passenger information screens were switched on (even if they weren’t showing any useful information for anyone intending to catch a train).
I’ve also had a reply from my local MP Nick Raynsford passing on the stock response Southeastern has handed to him which also states that he is due to be meeting Southeastern’s MD Charles Horton today to discuss the issues raised. Hopefully he’ll be able to pass on the results of that discussion.
A Downing Street petition has been launched to ask for Southeastern’s franchise to be reviewed.
Incidentally, while also on transport, Peter Hendy has indicated he isn’t best pleased with the hated Oyster Extension Permits travelcard holders need to use on some National Rail routes if they leave their zones.