The Government have announced that as of the 17th October 2021 the Department of Transport’s “Operator of Last Resort” (OLR) will take over the management of the London Southeastern Franchise. Both Southeastern and the Government have said that tickets and services will be unaffected by this change.
Southeastern currently operate services on both the Hayes line and some services, such as the service into London Victoria from Bromley South. The decision to remove the operator followed a Department for Transport (DfT) investigation which identified £25 million of taxpayers’ money had not been reported or repaid since 2014. While the money has now been recovered, the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, has taken firm action in stripping London Southeastern of the franchise. The OLR will take over and prioritise the punctual running of services, also preparing for the Government's wide-ranging reforms to railway operations in Great Britain.
Commuter and 2022 Conservative candidate for Hayes & Coney Hall, Thomas Turrell, commented:
"Many commuters like myself have long felt let down by London Southeastern railways. To be frank the service has just not been good enough so a new operator with a renewed focus on improving the service is good news for local rail users. Along with my fellow local Conservatives we will be continuing to push for the restoration of pre-pandemic services as soon as possible and hope the new operator will achieve this quicker than Southeastern were prepared”.