London

London commuters back TfL rail devolution plan, poll says

South West Train, Southeastern train, Southern train Image copyright PA
Image caption Chris Grayling said he opposed Transport for London taking over Southern, Southeastern and South West train services

Most Londoners believe suburban rail routes should be controlled by Transport for London (TfL), according to a new poll.

The survey of 1,000 adults carried out by YouGov for the Greater London Authority showed 58% wanted TfL to have more powers over train services.

The poll also showed only 14% supported the government's decision to overrule a plan for TfL to take over the services.

The Department for Transport said it was "determined to improve journeys".

Image caption Sadiq Khan had hoped to take over the Southeastern franchise in 2018

The survey comes as a cross-party group of MPs have written to the prime minister urging her to review Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's decision.

The letter was signed by Conservative MPs Tania Mathias and Bob Neill, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake and eleven Labour MPs.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the poll showed it was "time for the transport secretary to stop burying his head in the sand and listen to what commuters want".

"This is much more important than party politics - it is about people's jobs, time with their family and quality of life," he said.

Image caption Chris Grayling has not yet commented about a letter he sent to Boris Johnson in 2013 about rail services in London

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said the mayor's business plan for taking over Southeastern routes "provided no extra capacity in peak hours, and there was no funding identified for improvements to infrastructure".

"We can deliver service improvements through partnership, without the need for a massive reorganisation," the spokesperson said.

Earlier this month Mr Grayling was urged to resign by his fellow Conservative MP Mr Neill after a leaked letter showed he opposed rail devolution to keep it "out of the clutches" of Labour.

The transport secretary said costs were the reason for overruling the plan, although he has not yet commented about the letter.

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