at least 95 additional services on weekdays from December 2018
a doubling of services along the London Waterloo to Reading and Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside routes from 2 to 4 trains an hour
earlier first trains and later last trains on many routes from December 2018
quicker journey times on at least 70% of all services from December 2020
an increase of at least 20% in peak time capacity from December 2020
a new delay repay compensation system for passengers with a quicker and simpler claims process
new smart ticketing technology and new tickets for part-time workers
The publication of the invitation to tender is a significant step forward in delivering better journeys for passengers. It details the minimum level of improvements bidders hoping to secure the next franchise will need to include in their detailed proposals.
Bidders are also encouraged to include proposals for additional benefits over and above the minimum requirements published today.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said:
We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era and this is great news for passengers who will see real benefits across the South Western network.
The South Western franchise has some of the busiest routes in the country, serving a diverse range of passengers and places and these improvements will deliver faster, smoother journeys for customers using these services.
The current franchise is operated by South West Trains and covers urban, suburban, regional and long-distance routes between London Waterloo, Reading, Bristol, Exeter, Weymouth and Portsmouth. It also includes the Island Line on Isle of Wight.
Bidders for the South Western franchise have until September 2016 to submit their bids, with the new operator planned to take over the franchise in June 2017.