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Greenwich MP Matthew Pennycook is calling for Southeastern to be stripped of its franchise because of its poor performance.

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook

Rail services in south London have been dogged by delays caused by London Bridge upgrades but Mr Pennycook says the problems run deeper.

His call comes on the back of the recent Which? annual passenger satisfaction survey which placed Southeastern joint last while punctuality measures have shown that the operator’s performance is slipping

Mr Pennycook told a Parliamentary debate about Southeastern: “I now receive complaints about late, cancelled or overcrowded Southeastern train services nearly every day. Whether it is two minutes here or five minutes there, it is often without explanation and causes immense frustration to the people waiting, who cannot get adequate compensation and are not regularly notified.

“Southeastern has lost the chance it had to restore faith and confidence in its service. The franchise should be removed.”

Southeastern’s franchise comes up for renewal in 2018 at which point TfL will take over its suburban services. Mr Pennycook said: “We need assurances that in the years left, Southeastern will not be allowed to let performance slip even further.”

Lewisham Deptford MP Vicky Foxtrot also welcomed the TfL take-over, adding: “The current franchise system combines the worst of both worlds. It is not a public system, but neither is it wholly privatised – the taxpayer still subsidises the operating systems to the tune of millions of pounds every year.

“Astoundingly, it costs the taxpayer much more since the railways were privatised than it did under a public system. Commuters are constantly met with rising fares and diminishing service, while Southeastern’s profits continue to soar.

“If Southeastern cannot run the service properly now, perhaps it should lose the franchise sooner.”

Eltham MP Clive Efford said: “I want the Government and TfL to recognise that south-east London has a transport deficit, which cannot continue to be ignored when the future expansion of rail services, including such things as the Underground and the Docklands Light Railway, is considered.”

Responding to the criticism, rail minister Claire Perry said: “Performance on these services is not where it should be, not where I want it to be, not where the operator wants it to be, and certainly not where anyone in this room, or the customers they represent, wants it to be.”

But she added: “Almost nine out of 10 trains are getting to their destination on time. Sometimes the vociferous complaints that we hear are a response because a particular line runs very ineffectively, which is important, or because there are certain passengers who are just extremely unhappy and now have the ability to let us know.”