More evening and weekend services and smart ticketing developments in amendment to current franchise agreement
The Department for Transport has reached agreement with South West Trains on a £50 million package of improvements for the route. These amendments to its franchise agreement will see changes in place prior to the conclusion of the company’s current franchise in February 2017.
SWT plans 73 new evening and weekend services along with additional seating on existing services, which it says will offer more than 57,000 additional seats overall. Among the improvements on Sunday afternoons are a half hourly service from London to Salisbury, faster services and extra seats from Poole, Bournemouth and Southampton to London and a half hourly service on the Hounslow loop. There will also be an additional early morning service from Southampton to London on weekdays at 05.20, with a return service at 07.03.
Other improvements include an extra 1,400 car parking spaces across eight stations by the end of 2017, a new online booking system, expansion of smart ticketing to include testing of compatibility with Oyster hardware for use on London Underground and bus services, a new website and mobile app and a range of customer service improvements.
The plans are in addition to the ongoing train refurbishment programme, provision of new Class 707 trains and infrastructure improvements at Waterloo which will see Platforms 1 to 4 lengthened to accommodate 10-car trains and the former Eurostar platforms brought back into use.
The DfT and South West Trains are seeking to negotiate an extension of the current franchise, which would then run until April 2019.