Government takes control of Southeastern rail franchise
Grant Shapps: protection
All services operated by train operator Southeastern are being taken over by the Government after a “serious breach” of its franchise agreement.
Southeastern is run by Govia and operates services across south-east England, covering London, Kent, East Sussex and the High Speed 1 Lines.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement this morning that an investigation by his department identified evidence of £25m of undeclared taxpayer funding which should have been returned.
“To protect taxpayers’ interests and passengers I have ordered the Operator of Last Resort to urgently take over the running of rail services in the South East,” he said.
“Over £25m of historic payments due to the Department were not declared – a significant breach of the franchise agreement. We won’t accept anything less from the private sector than a total commitment to their passengers, and transparency with taxpayers.”
Further investigations are being conducted and the Government said it will consider options for more action, including financial penalties.
Govia is a joint venture between transport operators Go-Ahead, with 65% control, and Keolis which holds the rest.
There are 4,000 workers and more than 2,000 services on weekdays..