GOVIA HAS agreed a further extension to the South Eastern franchise with the Department for Transport. Secretary of State Chris Grayling announced on 10 April the Government would be seeking a further short agreement with the incumbent operator pending the outcome of the franchise competition. The franchise will now continue until 10 November, with an option to extend until 1 April 2020.
During that period Southeastern will launch Delay Repay 15 compensation, an improvement on the current scheme in which compensation is only available for delays of 30 minutes or more.
A new franchise had been due to start in December 2018, but DfT is yet to award it. Incumbent operator Govia is shortlisted for the new deal alongside a consortium of Abellio, JR East and Mitsui.
A partnership between Stagecoach and Alstom had also been shortlisted, but it was confirmed in April that Stagecoach had been disqualified from the competition due to non-compliance concerning pensions. Govia has operated the South Eastern franchise since 2006.