The Mayor of London’s ambitious plans to lift suburban commuters out of the chilly disregard of the rail franchisees and into the warm embrace of TfL has taken a step forward.
Sadiq Khan has presented his business case for devolving suburban services ending the “nightmare” of delays and disruptions which have been typified by the latest round of strikes on Southern .
In his plan, services that lead into London from the Home Counties would become part of the TfL network where profit is not the major driver and where innovations such as Oyster and single fare structures could take effect.
He believes the plan will give a regenerative boost to outer London, prompting a similar rush of house building as that seen in east London and Crossrail following the development of transport links.
South London is a particular bugbear for commuters – as well as the Southern chaos, the London Bridge development has exposed an inability of the rail franchisees to co-operate and co-ordinate.
Meanwhile, in the South, where there are few Tube stations, the rail lines are under-utilised and overcrowded. Turning suburban services into metro-style services could increase frequency. TfL has proved adept at this as evidenced by the London Overground , one of the most popular services in the UK network.
Catalyst for new homes
The mayor said: “Our plans will not only use TfL’s skills and expertise to improve the daily commute for millions of Londoners, but act as a catalyst for new jobs and homes in outer London.
“Devolution will help us deliver a properly integrated transport network across London.
“Rail passengers will finally get the same standard of service and reliability they get on the Tube. We’ve set out our compelling case to the Government – there really is now no excuse for not pressing ahead.”
London transport commissioner Mike Brown said: “We have worked hard to deliver better services for our customers on the rail services we control, delivering major improvements and greater reliability.
"We have taken neglected parts of the transport network and transformed them to support new homes, jobs and economic growth across the capital.
“London Overground has become one of the most popular and punctual railways anywhere in the country. We want to bring this level of service to the wider London rail network – with seamless interchanges, a single fares structure and more frequent, reliable trains.”