Khan makes his case for more rail devolution


London mayor Sadiq Khan has set out to transport secretary Chris Grayling his case for further devolving suburban rail services to Transport for London (TfL).

City hall said Mr Khan’s plan sets out how a better integrated and more reliable suburban network would improve services for millions of passengers, ‘many of whom are being severely let down by suburban rail services out of stations like London Bridge and Waterloo’.

London mayor Sadiq Khan

Officials pointed out that the principle of the further devolution of suburban rail services was agreed in January in a joint Department for Transport /TfL prospectus. 

It said the improvements TfL would introduce include:

  • More frequent services, including increasing services longer term between Orpington and Victoria from 6 trains to 8 trains an hour, and trains from Bexleyheath to London from 7 trains to 9 trains per hour
  • Integrated fares and ticketing, with any freeze in TfL fares also being applied to devolved rail routes within London
  • Cleaner, refurbished and safer stations with all day staffing, turn up and go services for those with accessibility needs, and more reliable trains
  • Installing more ticket gates, introducing Oyster and contactless payment where they’re not already available, and providing more or better ticket machines
  • Integrated branding and information for passengers across London’s entire public transport network, including adding newly devolved stations/lines to the Tube map

The mayor’s business case argues that further rail devolution would also deliver economic benefits and be cost neutral for central government.

Mr Khan said TfL’s skills and expertise would improve the daily commute for millions of Londoners and said there was ‘no excuse’ for not pressing ahead with the changes.

He said: ‘For too long, London’s rail commuters have been getting a bad service – with nightmare delays, cancellations and overcrowding increasingly the norm on our suburban rail routes. Today’s business case sets out in detail the huge benefits Londoners will feel from devolving suburban rail routes to TfL.’

City hall said devolution would ensure better links between London rail services and local communities, with better coordinated decision-making across rail networks, and closer collaboration with local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.


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