by political editor Paul Francis
Rail bosses in charge of Kent’s train services are being paid six-figure salaries and received hundreds of thousands more in perks and bonuses in 2010.
Southeastern is facing continuing complaints from long-suffering commuters, who have recently been hit with fare increases of nearly 13 per cent on some lines.
Accounts for Southeastern’s parent company, the Go Ahead Group, show the man in overall charge, Keith Ludeman, received a pay package that totalled £1.3m in 2010.
His basic salary was £503,000 and he received a further £589,000 in performance-related bonuses.
On top of that, he received £100,000 in shares - in recognition of the company’s retention of the Southern franchise - and £171,000 in other benefits, including his pension.
Mr Ludeman, who is also listed as a director of Southeastern, has spent 15 years with the company and took charge in 2006.
He is to retire in July, when he will be replaced by David Brown, who is currently in charge of Transport for London’s above-ground operations.
Meanwhile, Southeastern refused to provide details of the pay and perks of managing director Charles Horton, saying it was a private matter.
However, the last available accounts for the company show that in 2009, the pay and perks of the highest paid director - who is not named - totalled £307,000 - £10,000 more than was paid the previous year.
In a statement, Southeastern said: "As with any business, Southeastern finances are reported to Companies House and include the highest earning director’s pay which is set by the Go-Ahead Group remuneration committee. To respect staff privacy, salaries of individual employees aren’t made public."
But Southeastern was criticised by Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch (Con).
"There should be greater transparency and ability to scrutinise. Pay packages should not be swept up into the accounts of the parent company. You cannot tell whether Southeastern has made a profit or loss and we shouldn’t forget this is a company that has been heavily subsidised by the taxpayer."
A spokesman for the Go Ahead Group said remuneration packages needed to be seen in the context of the size and scale of the company, which was one of the largest of its kind that employed 22,000 people and transport for 1 billion passengers on trains and buses.
The Go Ahead Group has seen revenues at both Southeastern and Southern trains increase by six per cent in the second half of 2010.