Southeastern Direct Award Contract

The Go-Ahead Group today announces that the Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded a Direct Award Contract to Govia to continue operating the Southeastern franchise.  The new contract commences on 1 April 2020 and will run until 16 October 2021, with the option to extend at the DfT’s discretion until 31 March 2022.

Under its existing contractual terms, Southeastern’s revenue is largely generated by passenger fares. The new arrangement is a management contract, reflecting the DfT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic announced on 23 March 2020, removing exposure to changes in passenger demand and costs. The management fee will be set at a maximum of 2 per cent of Southeastern’s cost base before the pandemic began.  

Approximately 90% of total Group revenues are now derived from contracted markets where there is no direct revenue risk from changes in underlying travel demand.

Southeastern will continue its immediate focus on providing services for key workers in this time of national crisis. Looking further ahead, during the course of the contract term Southeastern will deliver a range of customer experience improvements including exploring options to boost capacity as additional rolling stock becomes available, and continued partnership with Network Rail to develop a longer-term capacity, rolling stock and punctuality strategy for the Southeastern network beyond 2022.

Go-Ahead’s subsidiary, Govia (Go-Ahead 65%, Keolis 35%), has operated Southeastern since 2006. Punctuality on Southeastern has increased by nearly 10% in the last two years, and customer satisfaction hit a six year high (81%) in the most recent National Rail Passenger Survey.

David Brown, Go-Ahead CEO, commented:

“This new contract provides continuity and stability during a challenging time.  The immediate priority remains the health and wellbeing of colleagues and customers, and to support society by providing an essential service for key workers.”

David Statham, Southeastern Managing Director, said:

“We continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that services are available to get people working in healthcare, food and other vital public services where they need to be.  When customers are able to begin travelling as normal, we look forward to reconnecting our communities and further improving capacity, performance and customer satisfaction.”  


For further information, please contact:

Holly Gillis, Head of Investor Relations

07766 305 594

Press office

07896 968 971


Go-Ahead is one of the leading UK public transport operator companies.  Our purpose is to be the local partner taking care of journeys that enhance the lives and wellbeing of our communities across the world.  Employing around 30,000 people across our businesses, over 1.2 billion passenger journeys are undertaken on our rail and bus services every year. In addition to the travelling public, our customers include governments and local authorities. We are committed to contributing to tackling climate change, improving air quality and reducing social isolation, and aim to run a zero emission bus fleet by 2035. 



Go-Ahead is one of the UK's largest bus operators. With a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses, we carry over two million passengers every day. We have a strong presence in London, with around 23 per cent market share, where we provide regulated services for Transport for London. Outside London, we principally serve high-density commuter markets, including the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, East Anglia, South East and South West England. Internationally, we operate a bus contract in Singapore and two bus contracts in Ireland.



The rail division operates two franchises in the UK, three contracts in Germany and one in Norway. In the UK, Southeastern and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) operate through our 65% owned subsidiary, Govia, which is 35% owned by Keolis. It is the largest rail operation in the UK, responsible for around 30 per cent of all UK passenger rail journeys through its rail franchises. In Germany and Norway, our contracts are run exclusively by Go-Ahead.