Southeastern will not increase Metro rail timetable until 16 May

In recent days reports have increasingly emerged of trains becoming crowded at certain times with social distancing difficult as the economy reopens and schools are back. For those hoping for relief, it won’t happen for around four weeks.

Some stations are currently seeing a large decrease in services. Erith, for example, has just a train every 30 minutes compared to every 10 minutes before. The Woolwich line has also lost direct trains via Lewisham to Charing Cross and Waterloo East. The Bexleyheath line has just two trains per hour to London Bridge during the day. The Hayes line is down to just two trains per hour.

Southeastern have stated that increased services will only happen at the May timetable change commencing on 16th May.

Congestion on roads

In the meantime, reduced links could push more towards buses or cars. Not great when congestion is already very high across London and Kent, and not only in areas with LTNs. Erith has been notably busy on the roads. Hundreds of new homes have recently completed.

In recent days bus usage in London has increase to just shy of 60 per cent of normal demand – up 15-20 per cent from the week before, with the tube up to around 35-40 per cent of normal demand, which is an increase of around 15 per cent on the week before.

There’s also the question of whether Southeastern are monitoring demand sufficiently, with no on-board staff except the driver to feedback on numbers (unlike many other operators) and most stations having no barriers – or those in place left open – which makes avoidance of payment easy and measurement of passenger numbers more difficult. The majority of their Networker fleet lacks passenger measurement tools, unlike their newer long-distance trains.

Even brand new stations are being opened – like in Kidbrooke – without any barriers. That’s pretty much unheard of in London.



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John Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

One thought on “Southeastern will not increase Metro rail timetable until 16 May

  • April 23, 2021 at 5:46 am

    With so many people beginning to return to work school and colleges public transport is certainly getting busier. I am surprised that South Eastern are not increasing the Metro timetable until 16th May.

    At a time when social distancing is still highly important The extra services are needed now.

    I have certainly noticed on local bus services that more people are travelling on the buses now and the seats closed off to allow social distancing passengers ignore the signs and sit on them anyway. I have also noticed more people are not wearing mask on buses again either.

    Although the drivers do their absolute best and do play the message mask covering your nose and mouth must be worn on public transport at all times unless exempt the passengers continues to ignoore this.

    Services need to be improved sooner rather than later to allow safe social distancing to continue as our public transport network continues to get busier as we slowly come out of lockdown.


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