Govia Grabs Kent Franchise
01 Dec 2005
The new Kent rail franchise has been awarded to Govia, in a £585m, eight year agreement.
The new franchise will start in April 2006. It will cover the area operated by South Eastern Trains across all of Kent, parts of east Sussex and south east London, and high speed commuter services on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from 2009.
Govia is promising £76m investment in passenger and staff facilities, two new depots, performance targets of 91.6% by 2010 and 93.7% by 2014, and additional peak time services, with possible trains to Dover if tunnelling concerns can be met.
However to aid investment fares will rise by 3% above inflation for five years from January 2007, the figure having been agreed as a balance between taxpayer and passenger.
Making the announcement, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said: "This will be the first high speed commuter service this country has seen. It is a tough contract that Govia will be expected to deliver on. It will help support the new housing and economic opportunities in the Thames Gateway region and beyond."
Keith Ludeman, Govia Chief Executive, said: “We believe this is good news for rail passengers in London, east Sussex and Kent. Govia will use its significant expertise and resources gained through the operation of its Southern and Thameslink franchises, where the challenges are very similar.”
Brian Cooke, Chairman of London TravelWatch, responded: “We welcome this announcement and are pleased to see a substantial commitment to improve passenger facilities and performance, as well as running more trains. However we are very concerned about fare rises.”
Govia will also be responsible for the Olympic ’Javelin’ service that in 2012 will take passengers from the centre of London to the capital’s Olympic Park in just eight minutes.