Rail passengers in the south-east are being asked whether they would like to see first-class carriages scrapped on commuter trains to create more space.
The government has launched a consultation process for the next South Eastern franchise, which covers south-east London, Kent and East Sussex.
Among the questions being asked within the consultation is whether passengers would “support removing first-class seating on the busiest routes to provide more space?”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Passengers on a new South Eastern franchise from 2018 will enjoy modern trains with more space and a more punctual and reliable service.
“This consultation sets out what we expect the next operator to deliver for passengers, including working more closely with Network Rail to ensure a focus on performance, and innovative use of technology to improve both ticket buying and compensation if things do go wrong.”
The government is considering whether first-class seating on trains should be removed as part of the new franchise.
“We recognise that first-class tickets remain popular on certain routes, notably on the South Eastern main line to Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells,” says the government in the consultation document.
“However, removing it would create more room for passengers, which would be important during peak hours.”
The Department for Transport also wants the new franchise to run longer trains to create more space for passengers, improve reliability and reduce delays, as well as introducing smarter payment systems, such as using mobile phones.
The consultation process will run for 10 weeks until May 23 and will also include a series of public events in the region.
Govia currently runs the Southeastern franchise and the new operator of the service is expected to be announced in August 2018. The next franchise is due to begin in December 2018.