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Plans to bring Dartford in the London transport system slammed

Dartford Railway Station
Dartford Railway Station

Plans to make Dartford railway station part of London’s transport network have been blasted by politicians who are worried the town could lose its identity.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he wanted to extend Transport for London further afield as part of plans to save £100 million over 20 years.

He has asked the government to give him power to franchise suburban railways which he says will provide more reliable services, cleaner stations and simpler fares.

The move could see private rail companies, such as Southeastern, adopt the same model used by Transport for London.

Solicitor Gareth Johnson
Solicitor Gareth Johnson

However, MP Gareth Johnson has already written to Mr Johnson opposing the extension of London’s rail network.

He said he fears Dartford will lose its status as a Kent town.

He said: “I’m very much against these plans. It means the Mayor of London will be running services in Dartford but not be accountable to them.

“We don’t want London taking over Dartford. I want to protect Dartford’s Kentish character.

“The Mayor of London does not have control over services people in Dartford use. He could change the quality of services; he should not have the type of power and influence in Dartford.”

Council leader Jeremy Kite welcomed the idea if it meant lower fares for commuters, but raised concerns at the proposals.

boris johnson
boris johnson

He said: “Anything that can be done to make commuters' life better should be welcomed. It seems illogical to me that on the tube you can travel to places for the same amount of money that are further out than Dartford.”

“However, we need to caution against becoming an expansion of London. If you ask people whether their origins are from London or Kent, most will say Kent.”

Cllr Kite added that issues such as policing and insurance costs of homes and cars could be affected if Dartford came under Transport for London’s control.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: “Devolving powers over rail from Whitehall to local bodies works well in a number of different parts of Great Britain and is something that is being considered.”

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