Following Southeastern’s announcement of timetable changes from 11th December, Louie was the first MP to meet with Southeastern to raise his significant concern over the changes and the impact they will have on his constituents.
At the meeting, Louie expressed his concern over the lack of consultation for these changes and the impact of the changes, particularly the reduction in services for Albany Park Station, the loss of the loop line service for Abbey Wood on the Sidcup line and the ending of off-peak Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line.
In particular, Louie expressed his concern over the impact on commuters, school children, shift workers, patients, elderly people and those with mobility and learning disabilities and pushed for an Equality Impact Assessment to be undertaken to evaluate the impact of these changes.
Louie also outlined the high number of responses to his Southeastern survey and how the preliminary results indicate the main local concerns surround services to Albany Park, Abbey Wood on the Sidcup line and Charing Cross on the Bexleyheath line and therefore pressed for the reversal of these changes.
In response, Southeastern made a commitment to review the timetable changes particularly ahead of their scheduled timetable change in May 2023 and asked to receive Louie’s results from his survey to inform and influence their review.
Whilst Louie strongly disagreed with Southeastern’s reasons for the timetable changes as being ‘demand-based changes’, Southeastern outlined that there has been a change in travel patterns, for example season tickets purchases has reduced by two thirds and there is a 50-60% reduced demand for peak services. Southeastern also stated that the changes will improve reliability due to reduced congestion at busy junctions, particularly at Lewisham which reduces crossings from 24 crossings per hour to 8 crossings which will result in less cancellations and delays.
Following the meeting, Louie said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Southeastern to press them on their timetable changes and represent my constituents given the impact the new timetable will have on their lives.”
“I will continue to meet with Southeastern and the Department for Transport to encourage and emphasise the urgent need to reconsider the timetable changes and to ensure my constituents’ voice is heard. The results from my survey will continually feed into the changes I press Southeastern to make, so please do complete my survey to ensure I can represent all views and focus on the main changes residents want me to lobby Southeastern to reverse.”