• Home /
  • Articles / Letter to Newsshopper: Time for fare deal on trains

Letter to Newsshopper: Time for fare deal on trains

"We need to treat our commuter services as a vital part of our transport infrastructure again. A Labour Government would review ticketing price structures and prevent rail companies from forever hiking the cost of peak services."

Letter_on_trains.jpg

Above inflation ticket increases, unreliable services and crowded carriages. No wonder surveys regularly put Southeastern Trains bottom of the pile for customer satisfaction.

Far too often passengers from Dartford experience unacceptable delays or shortened services on their way home.

And when delays and cancellations happen, Southeastern often leaves passengers in the dark with poor communication and meaningless explanations.

Not everyone who commutes from Dartford can afford the £411 for a monthly season ticket on the high-speed service from Ebbsfleet - so for those who have no choice but to use regular services, what can be done?

This Government's approach - making passengers pay a greater share of the cost of running our railways, through ever increasing ticket costs, is wrong.

Most rail commuters have no choice.

They need to get to work in the capital and have to pay the going rate for a ticket, along with finding the money or rising household bills, childcare and the monthly rent or mortgage.

We need to treat our commuter services as a vital part of our transport infrastructure again. A Labour Government would review ticketing price structures and prevent rail companies from forever hiking the cost of peak services.

We also need to think about how we can provide the most efficient integrated transport infrastructure for our town.

We are on the cusp of London, but get none of the benefits of being close to the capital. Dartford lies just outside the travel zones and Oyster cards are not accepted.

I would look to support future proposals for transferring the running of Dartford's services from Southeastern to Transport for London.

I believe that when it and other franchises do come up for renewal there should be three options on the table:

1) Returning the running of the franchise to the public sector.

2) Allowing a private no-profit company to take over the running of the franchise.

3) Secure guaranteed investment in infrastructure by offering extended franchises to operators with a record of consistently good levels of customer satisfaction.

What is clear is the Conservative's privatisation of our railways has largely failed.

I will work to ensure we have a government that sees our railways as a vital part of our country's transport infrastructure again.

SIMON THOMSON
Labour's parliamentary candidate for Dartford

 

 

Read related posts from Simon Thomson

Dear Gareth,

I am writing to you to seek urgent clarification following a tweet sent earlier today by the Mayor of London, which stated:

“yes the new silvertown crossing will be in by 2020 followed by 3 more bridges inc Dartford 2 #askboris”

The issue of the location of a new Lower Thames Crossing will have a huge impact on Dartford and it vitally important that the crossing is sited away from this area so that the congestion and pollution our town currently suffers from can be alleviated.

Therefore, the Mayor of London’s remarks today have been the cause of considerable concern amongst Dartford residents, particularly as they come from a senior politician within the Conservative Party. I also note that this is not the first time the Mayor has asserted that a new crossing is planned for Dartford.

I hope you will agree with me that Dartford residents deserve clarity and honesty from the Government on this decision. Therefore, will you urgently confirm to residents that a decision on the location of new Lower Thames Crossing has not yet been made?

If it is now the case that a decision has been made, will you agree with me that this needs to be confirmed to Dartford residents without further delay, prior to the General Election on May 7th?

The people of Dartford would appreciate clarification at the earliest opportunity possible. I have today also written directly to the Mayor of London asking him to clarify his remarks. I look forward to hearing from you

Kind regards

Simon Thomson
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford

TRANSPORT

Fri 16 January, 2015

Letter to Gareth Johnson - New Dartford Crossing

Dear Gareth, I am writing to you to seek urgent clarification following a tweet sent earlier today by the Mayor of London, which stated: Read more

Dear Mayor Johnson

I am writing to you to seek urgent clarification over your tweet earlier today, in response to a question from @mark_bailey10, in which you stated:

“yes the new silvertown crossing will be in by 2020 followed by 3 more bridges inc Dartford 2 #askboris”

I appreciate that 140 characters gives you very little space, and sometimes the nuance can be lost. However, your statement would seem to confirm that plans are afoot for a new crossing in Dartford.

Given your senior role within the Conservative Party and what I am sure are regular discussions with colleagues in national government, could you either confirm or deny that a decision has been made regarding the location of a Lower Thames Crossing? And, if you are aware of a decision, has the local Member of Parliament been informed?

As I am sure you will appreciate, the issue of a new Lower Thames Crossing is causing great concern for many people who live and work in Dartford, and have to put up with chaos on the roads whenever there is congestion at the current crossing. This has been reflected in the immediate response to your statement on social media and in the local press.

The issue of the location of a new Lower Thames Crossing will have a huge impact and therefore it is vitally important that any new crossing is sited away from Dartford, so that the congestion and pollution our town currently suffers from can be alleviated.

Local residents have had to put up with month after month of delay and uncertainty in regard to this issue. The only thing which would be worse is a decision to build yet another crossing in Dartford. My fear is that your earlier statement has removed that uncertainty to the detriment of this town.

The people of Dartford would appreciate clarification at the earliest opportunity possible. I look forward to hearing from you


Kind regards

Simon Thomson
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford

Cc: Gareth Johnson MP
Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport

Liquid syntax error: Error in tag 'subpage' - No such page slug

Simon Thomson responds to the governments’ road building announcement – “Dartford has been let down by the Conservative led government again. There is nothing new announced that will help get Dartford moving.”

Responding to todays’ government announcement, Simon Thomson, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Dartford said:

“Todays roads announcement shows that once again, Dartford is being let down by the Conservative led government. Despite Dartford suffering some of the worst traffic gridlock in the South East, no new road improvements that would help get Dartford moving were included. It’s even more frustrating that the government are simply re-announcing previous schemes, such as improvements to the Bean junction, that they’ve already failed to deliver on. This is a smoke and mirrors announcement from a government that has nothing to offer Dartford.”

“The lack of investment in Dartford’s roads is a major cause of the gridlock residents suffer and demonstrates that Dartford’s Conservative MP is simply not standing up for local residents. Dartford needs an MP that is prepared to fight our corner for investment in our roads and if elected in May, that’s exactly what I will do.”


Ends

Road Investment Strategy announced by the government of 1st December 2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/biggest- upgrade-to-roads-in-a-generation. The strategy contains many schemes that had already been announced.

Simon Thomson is Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford and can be contacted on 07941 679353

Liquid syntax error: Error in tag 'subpage' - No such page slug

Whether it’s being stuck in traffic gridlock or being left on a platform by a cancelled train – too often it seems like Dartford isn’t moving. We need that to change – we need a plan to get Dartford moving again. If I’m MP for Dartford next May I’ll tackle our traffic and transport issues.  I’m not going to pretend we can fix everything overnight – but there are things we can and should be doing to help get Dartford moving again. That’s why today I’m launching my traffic and transport priorities for Dartford:

Trains: I’ll fight to get a better service for Dartford

As a daily commuter on the Dartford line, I know just poor the Southeastern service is at the moment. Expensive tickets, delays and cancellations, crowded and dirty carriages and a lack of information when things go wrong. Quite simply, Southeastern are letting us down, badly. The local Tory MP and his government colleagues have ignored your concerns and handed Southeastern a new contract until 2018. Dartford’s rail users deserve better. Labour will cap fares and if Southeastern won’t improve, I will push for a change in operator – preferably in the public sector -- that can deliver the modern, integrated and affordable rail service that Dartford needs. And bringing the Oyster card to Dartford now, is a must.

Crossing: I’ll campaign against another river crossing at Dartford

Our roads grind to a halt whenever there’s a problem at the crossing. But the Tory government is considering building another crossing at Dartford. That makes no sense. Any new crossing has to be built away from Dartford or our town risks remaining a traffic bottleneck forever more. The local Tory MP campaigned to scrap the tolls in 2010. They went up by 30%. Now he’s failed to get this government to rule out another crossing in Dartford. He doesn’t stand up for Dartford - I will, by campaigning against another river crossing being built in Dartford.

Traffic Gridlock: Delivering a new Traffic Plan for Dartford

Gridlock on Dartford’s roads is an all too common experience. The current traffic plan has failed and from congestion to the many problems with parking across Dartford – I’m clear that your concerns can’t continue to be ignored. That’s why as your MP, I’ll ask our local councils and government to work with me to deliver a new traffic plan for Dartford, and to find solutions to the many parking problems across the borough.

Infrastructure: I’ll work to bring Crossrail to Dartford

Thousands of new homes are being planned for Ebbsfleet and Eastern Quarry. Paramount wants to build a theme park on the Swanscombe Peninsular. Huge, exciting projects but I’m concerned that we don’t have the infrastructure to match. That’s why I believe we should benefit from being so close to London by extending Crossrail to Dartford and I’ll work hard to make that happen. I’ll also support a rail extension from Ebbsfleet to the Paramount development, to avoid Swanscombe and other areas getting swamped by traffic.

Cycling: Expanding safe cycling provision across the constituency

Cycling is healthy and enjoyable way of getting across town. But too many of us are put off from getting on our bikes because we feel unsafe in traffic. Many local cycle paths are overgrown; others are simply lines painted on the road, providing little safety to cyclists. Neighbouring boroughs are benefiting from the London mayor’s investment in cycling initiatives. I will work with the Mayor’s office, Kent County Council and the new Dartford Council to seek investment to improve cycling provision across the constituency, But that must mean designated cycle routes, properly separated from traffic.

Buses: Improving local bus services

Many people have been raising with me the issue of poor bus services delivered by Arriva across our constituency. In Longfield, services seem to bear little resemblance to published timetables and we need to improve and extend FastTrack. We need a fully integrated bus service, which meets the needs of passengers. Labour will give local regions the power to regulate their bus services, so that local people and businesses get the service they need. I will make sure this happens across our communities.

Contact me

I want to hear you views too – what are your ideas to get Dartford moving?

http://www.simonthomson.org/your_views

http://www.facebook.com/DartfordLabour

twitter @simontthomson or @Dartford_Labour #GetDartfordMoving

...or comment below.

 

Simon Thomson, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford

 

 

Liquid syntax error: Error in tag 'subpage' - No such page slug

More news from Simon Thomson

Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed - that's Labour's message for the General Election.

Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time knocking on doors in Dartford listening to people and their concerns. I’ve seen first hand that many local people are still struggling to make ends meet. I’ve also seen they’ve not given up on hoping for a change.

We need real change in Dartford and real change in our politics. We need to take action on the cost of living crisis. It cannot be right that under the Conservatives the rich are getting richer while we all pay more in taxes. It cannot be right that the Tory top down re-organisation of the NHS has meant that nurses and doctors are struggling with ever increasing workloads and lack of support. It cannot be right that after 5 years of a Conservative led government, the next generation is faced with being worse off than their parents. I think it is time for change and a better plan.

Dartford needs a better deal. Last week, Labour announced five pledges that are at the heart of our plan for a better future. It’s based on a simple idea: that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. That’s as true in Dartford as it is in the rest of the county. The five pledges set out a clear vision about what type of society Labour wants to create - a fairer, more equal, more prosperous society.

· A strong economic foundation: Labour will balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS.

· Higher living standards for working families: Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.

· An NHS with time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. Labour will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.

· Controls on immigration: People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and Labour will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

· A country where the next generation can do better than the last: Labour will reduce tuition fees to £6,000, and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and deliver smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.

As your MP, I’ll work hard every day to help restore pride in Dartford and make sure that everyone benefits from our town's revival.


Simon Thomson


Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford


Tue 17 March, 2015

Labour's plan for Dartford

Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed - that's Labour's message for the General Election. Read more

Do you like this post?

Reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.