Rail Minister listens to Southeastern concerns

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Rail Minister Claire Perry MP has praised the Sort It, Southeastern commuter campaign after listening to concerns about the company at a meeting with Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Matt Hartley.

Matt Hartley, who is standing to become the new MP for Greenwich & Woolwich in May's General Election, started the Sort It, Southeastern campaign last year in a bid to secure improvements for local commuters.  The campaign follows the government's announcement of £70m for improvements to the Southeastern franchise, and aims to utilise commuters' "strength in numbers", as paying customers, to hold the company to account over how it uses this investment.

In recent months the Greenwich councillor has grilled Southeastern and Network Rail bosses at the Town Hall, and met with Southeastern to raise commuters' concerns directly – as well as collecting nearly hundreds of signatures on a petition to the company.  Southeastern is now improving staff training and recruitment processes to improve communication with customers, especially at times of disruption to the service.

At a further meeting in Parliament this week (26th March), Hartley discussed the Sort It, Southeastern campaign with the Rail Minister Claire Perry, and raised the need for additional rolling stock on Southeastern routes to ease overcrowding.

Matt Hartley, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Greenwich & Woolwich, said: "I was pleased to have a useful and productive meeting with the Minister covering the problems of reliability, poor communication when things go wrong and the need for longer trains to ease overcrowding.  The government has arranged for a welcome £70m investment in our train service - and it is now up to Southeastern to deliver the improvements we need.  I will continue to hold the company's feet to the fire to make sure they deliver.

"I have been overwhelmed by the level of support from fellow commuters since I launched the Sort It, Southeastern campaign last November - and we are only just getting started."

Rail Minister Claire Perry MP said: “Since I was appointed as the Rail Minister I have been clear that customer service is a priority for me. As part of our long-term economic plan we are investing a record £38 billion in our railways and I am determined that passengers feel the benefit of this.

“I was delighted to hear more about Matt’s campaign and I am hopeful that Southeastern will take note and agree with me that passengers need to be at the very heart of all they do.”

The Sort It, Southeastern petition can be signed at www.sortitsoutheastern.com