South Eastern Rail Franchise — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:19 pm on 27th November 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 4:19 pm, 27th November 2018

Thank you very much, Mr Hollobone. The world of transport provides a wonderful array of images.

I thank my hon. Friend Robert Neill for securing this debate and for being a champion for his constituents and the users of this important franchise, which, as he said, has been operated by Govia since 2006. It is the third-largest of all the departmental franchises. There were more than 450,000 passenger journeys per day in the first quarter of this year, so we are dealing with a railway of scale.

The franchise agreement between the Department and train operators includes key performance benchmarks —they all do—to ensure that the franchise delivers with passengers at its heart. I do not think that claim could be made consistently throughout the history of British railways. That is our objective, and that is how I will approach the whole industry.

Despite what my hon. Friend said—I look forward to receiving that dossier, as I am keen to hear direct feedback—Southeastern’s performance, as we measure it, is consistently above the average for London and the south-east. Of course, that should never be a cause for complacency. One should always try to improve, and the Department has regular conversations with Govia.