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Dartford rail passengers could soon benefit from the Oyster card

21 February 2014
by Messenger Reporter

An Oyster card

An Oyster card

Dartford rail passengers could soon benefit from the Oyster card.

Southeastern is in talks with Transport for London to extend the Oyster into the town, it has been revealed.

It was announced by transport minister, Robert Goodwill, during a House of Commons debate about train services, which was led by Dartford MP Gareth Johnson.

A spokesman for Southeastern confirmed: “We’re in discussions with Transport for London to extend Oyster into Dartford.

"The talks are on-going, but we’re hoping that this can be progressed quickly so that our customers can start to benefit from the scheme as soon as possible.

“Separately to these discussions, we have also proposed to the Department for Transport (DfT) a trial of a smart card that is valid across our network, as part of negotiations regarding our franchise.

“It’s our intention that a variety of products can be downloaded onto the card, such as season tickets, giving Southeastern customers more flexible ticketing arrangements.

“The DfT is expected to make an announcement on this during the summer.”

The House of Commons debate also discussed rail services in the South East following ongoing complaints from local commuters who use stations in and around Dartford.

Mr Johnson, who called for the debate, said: “It was important to remind the transport minister of the strength of feeling surrounding the quality of train services in the local area and to put pressure on Southeastern to improve its reliability.

“The transport minister responded to the debate and seemed to take on board the concerns I raised with regards to punctuality, communication, value for money and reliability.

“I was also pleased to hear from the minister that Southeastern is in talks over the possibility of extending the Oyster card down to Dartford.”

The existing Southeastern franchise was due to come to an end on March 21, but has been extended until October.

A spokesman added: “We’re currently in negotiation with the government regarding the period after that, which will run until 2018.”

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