Passenger transport operator Keolis UK has been shortlisted by the Department for Transport (DfT) to rebid for the South Eastern rail franchise with its joint venture partner Go-Ahead.

The partners’ long-term joint venture, Govia (Go-Ahead 65%, Keolis 35%), has operated the franchise since 2006 under the South Eastern brand. It will now put forward a bid to retain the franchise from December 2018.

Alistair Gordon, CEO, Keolis UK, said: “South Eastern is one of the UK’s most advanced rail networks and, in delivering 640,000 passenger journeys every weekday, it is a vital part of the region’s economic infrastructure. Alongside Go-Ahead, we have helped to transform the service over the last decade, significantly boosting passenger numbers, capacity and introducing customer-focused innovations like smart-ticketing. We hope to continue our journey under a new franchise.”

The South Eastern franchise includes the UK’s only high-speed domestic service, HS1. Govia has invested £120m in station improvements and major customer service initiatives since the start of the franchise.

UPDATE

The Department for Transport and the Govia joint venture have agreed a short-term extension to the current passenger franchise until November 10 2019, the operator confirmed on June 13, with an option for a further extension to April 1, 2020.

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