Last week it was announced that Dartford commuters will soon be able to benefit from the Oyster Card. As a commuter myself, this is an issue close to my heart and something I have campaigned for, along with others.
We have been without Oyster services on trains for too long, but the negotiations have now come to fruition.
Earlier this year, in a debate I secured on rail services, the Rail Minister informed the House of Commons that the extension of Oyster services to Dartford could take place and it is good to see that will now happen.
It has always been an anomaly that we could use Oyster cards on buses in Dartford but not trains. That will now change so commuters will have a more convenient system of travel into London.
I have never been Southeastern’s greatest advocate. Nearly two years ago it was announced in the Kent Messenger that there would be an extension of Southeastern’s franchise until 2018. I did not support this decision as the service provided by the company falls far below what we should receive. I maintain, however, that those people who want a renationalisation of our rail services obviously didn’t commute during the darkest days of British Rail.
Southeastern has a lot to do in order to win back public confidence and bringing the Oyster card to Dartford is a positive step in the right direction. This, coupled with the recently announced freeze on fares in line with inflation, should mean a better deal for commuters.