To consider and endorse the key issues to be included in KCC’s response to the Department for Transport’s public consultation on the new South Eastern franchise.
Stephen Gasche (Principal Transport Planner – Rail) was in attendance for this item
(1) Mr Balfour (Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport) said it was important to ensure that the specification for the next franchise for train services in Kent met the needs of people in Kent.
(2) Mr Gasche introduced the report which set out the key points to be included in Kent County Council’s response to the Department for Transport’s public consultation on the new South Eastern franchise due to start in February 2017. He referred to the Council’s rail policy set out in the Rail Action Plan for Kent and to the new Local Transport Plan that was being prepared. He also drew Members’ attention to the schedule for consultation, the principal requirements to be included in the franchise specification, capacity issues at some key locations in relation to the high speed and mainline services, station improvements and community rail partnerships.
(3) He answered a number of questions relating to specific services and stations. He also said that station car parks were owned by Network Rail and operated by South Eastern who sub-contracted the management of them to private operators. He said that the revenue generated from the car parks covered the maintenance and upkeep of the car parks; however it was desirable that consideration be given to “decking” car parks at some stations where demand exceeded the spaces available.
(4) In response to further questions, Mr Gasche said:
· The opportunities to reduce journey time to be included in the specification for the franchise related to changes to stopping patterns rather than infrastructure intervention
· The significant increase in demand for services from Ebbsfleet and other areas of North Kent was recognised
· It was unlikely that the current problems relating to driver-only trains would apply to South Eastern because current working practices did not envisage driver-only operation.
(5) A Member suggested that in addition to reflecting their business location stations should also reflect their heritage location.
(6) Mr Balfour said that smart ticketing was important and its use should be extended to include other forms of public transport.
(7) Mr Balfour said that Mr Gasche, at the request of the Department for Transport would be embedded in the new franchise team to ensure that the interests of Kent’s rail passengers were recognised in the service specification for the new franchise.
(8) Resolved that the key issues to be included in KCC’s response to the Department for Transport’s public consultation on the new South Eastern Franchise be endorsed.