KCC has urged the government to provide more carriages on trains during peak periods, address overcrowding and improve connectivity in its response to a consultation on rail services in Kent.
The Department for Transport is consulting on rail services in the county ahead of a new franchise to run services coming into effect in December next year.
For the High Speed service, KCC has said the new franchisee will need to order 20 new trains to support increasing numbers of passengers.
This would see an additional 12 on the Ashford, Canterbury and Dover service, three on the planned service to Rye and Hastings, and five on the Ebbsfleet service.
On Mainline services, KCC supports a DfT plan to send trains from the Thameslink service down to Southeastern to improve journeys and also to free up more trains for Metro services.
In its response, KCC said Metro services need a “bold initiative” by the new franchisee.
In particular, KCC suggests a competition between rolling stock companies should be a requirement, with a commitment to the renewal of the Metro fleet with increased capacity.
This additional capacity, KCC says, is required on the Metro services operating in Kent to and from Dartford, Gravesend and Sevenoaks.
Improved connectivity at Strood, Tonbridge, Otford, and Dover Priory are also highlighted.
Parking remains an issue at stations across Kent, with KCC saying Ashford International, Canterbury West, Maidstone East, Otford, Tonbridge and West Malling needing additional spaces.
High Speed services charge a further premium fare, representing 30% in addition to the ordinary fare.
KCC said in its response: “This represents a substantial additional cost, especially for peak-time commuters.
“The level of additional premium needs to be reduced as part of the financial agreement between the DfT and the operator for the new franchise.”
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Transport Matthew Balfour said: “We are pleased to have been given the opportunity to take part in this consultation.
“It is our view that the new franchise offers a unique opportunity to deliver a world-class, punctual, reliable, affordable and safe railway.
“The new franchisee needs to ensure it meets the increasing demands of a growing population, and providing the essential connectivity within Kent, and between Kent and London, for all those who need to travel by train.”
The full response is available to read here KCC Response to DfT Consultation on New South Eastern Franchise.