The competition to award the franchise for South Eastern Rail has been postponed until April 2020. Southeastern operates the rail network between London, Kent and parts of East Sussex under a contract that was due to expire in November 2019.
The Department for Transport said the franchise competition had been cancelled due to concerns that it would not deliver enough benefits to passengers. The further announcement was that the contract would be extended until April 2020.
Is it a competition or not?
What will happen from April 2020 is anyone’s guess. To call the whole thing a competition in the first place is a bit odd. Surely its an opportunity for companies to tender to run the contract rather than a competition. We would like to think that the winner is based on their proposal to offer a improved service, rather than picking a name out of a hat!
The Department for Transport said there were concerns that it would not deliver enough benefits to passengers. It really does not fill the rail commuters of Kent with confidence that any service will be able to run the franchise in a way that they would like to see.
A spokesperson from the DoT said “The department will use this period to develop a solution that delivers the capacity and performance benefits that passengers are expecting, and ensure that the recommendations of the Williams Review can be implemented.”
They have only had a few years to come up with a good solution, so trying to develop a new solution in only a matter of months is going to go perfectly!