Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Secretary of State for Transport turns a deaf ear on Deal

The Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond MP has declined a request to intervene in the dispute with Southeastern to extend the highspeed timetable to Deal. Although it was stressed to Mr Hammond his intervention could help regenerate the East Kent economy and improve transport infrastructure, it was left to the Department for Transport (Correspondence Manager) to issue the following reply:

The current level of services which operate since December 2009 is based on the Department’s Service Level Commitment (SLC). A Service Level Commitment is the means by which the Secretary of State specifies the level, frequency, maximum journey times and stopping patterns of the railway passenger services that the Franchisee is to operate. The SLC specifies the minimum service level to be provided by Southeastern.

The franchise operator, Southeastern, has not suggested extending services to Deal, but is perfectly free to do so should they believe that a commercial case exists. If such an approach was made, and the case proven, the Department is unlikely to object to such as proposal. However any such change would be predicated on there being no increase in Southeastern’s subsidy requirement, and would thus need to be commercially justified.  In the current economic climate, any increase in the levels of subsidy paid would be extremely difficult to justify.  

Southeastern could propose further changes to the current SLC.  However, changes would only be made following a further public consultation and after consideration of the responses and the assessment of the benefits and dis-benefits to all passengers.

Robert Baker
Correspondence Manager
Rail Contracts
Department for Transport

1 comment:

  1. I am suprised he didn't suggest using a shovel rather than getting a fast train!