New contracts have been signed between the government and rail operators Southeastern.
The new agreement with Govia – which owns Southeastern- aims to ensure jobs are protected in the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, providing those who cannot work from home with the connections they need to get to where they need to and keep the country running.
In the longer-term, there will be improvements including increased capacity at peak times, more front-line staff and more fares trials for passengers. The direct awards will allow services to be stepped up when the rail network returns to normal following disruption from COVID-19.
Southeastern promises space for thousands of extra passengers during the morning and evening peak times, while more front-line staff will be recruited to help passengers with their journeys.
The Direct Award Contract is with Govia -a subsidiary of the Go Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%)- and runs from 1 April 2020 until 16 October 2021, with the option to extend at the DfT’s discretion until 31 March 2022.
David Statham, Southeastern Managing Director, said: “We continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that services are available to get people working in healthcare, food and other vital public services where they need to be. When customers are able to begin travelling as normal, we look forward to reconnecting our communities and further improving capacity, performance and customer satisfaction”.
The agreements run concurrently with the emergency measures agreements announced earlier this week which will see the government temporarily take on the revenue and cost risk associated with individual franchises.