Southeastern has confirmed that the Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded a Direct Award Contract that will allow the Southeastern franchise to continue operating until 16 October 2021, with the option to extend at the DfT’s discretion until 31 March 2022.
The contract, with Southeastern owners Govia (a subsidiary of the Go Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%)), means that, in the short term, Southeastern will continue its immediate focus on providing services for key workers in this time of national crisis.
Looking further ahead, Southeastern will deliver a range of customer experience improvements during the course of the contract term, including exploring options to boost capacity in the short-term as additional rolling stock becomes available, and continued partnership with Network Rail to develop a longer-term capacity, rolling stock and punctuality strategy for the Southeastern network beyond 2022.
The new arrangement is a management contract, reflecting the DfT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced on 23 March 2020, removing exposure to changes in passenger demand and costs.
David Statham, Southeastern managing director, said: “We continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that services are available to get people working in healthcare, food and other vital public services where they need to be. When customers are able to begin travelling as normal, we look forward to reconnecting our communities and further improving capacity, performance and customer satisfaction.”