TfL agree that the services are crowded & welcomes increased capacity
"Will the Mayor investigate overcrowding on South West Trains, especially with government guidance instructing that SWT passengers only need 0.25 square metres of space compared to passengers on almost all other trains who should be given 0.45 square metres of space?"
Answer from the Mayor:
Transport for London (TfL) agrees that there is currently crowding on South Western services, and welcomes the forthcoming capacity increases. Under the Office of Rail Regulation’s funding settlement for the period 2009 to 2014, the Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail and South West Trains are committed to lengthening South Western suburban services to 10 car trains, which will provide significant extra capacity.
Regarding crowding issues in the longer term, the Mayor welcomed the London Assembly Transport Committee’s report on rail overcrowding, and its recommendation that the Mayor sets out London’s rail needs for the next 20 years. In line with that, TfL is investigating crowding on all National Rail services in Greater London, with a view to forming its recommendations for the DfT’s second High Level Output Specification, for the period 2014-2019. South West Trains services are very much part of this review.
The standing space target you refer to is specific to the rolling stock and its configuration, and reflects the amount of useable standing space on the Class 455 trains operated by South West Trains, relative to other stock types and configurations. However, TfL does not use this measure of capacity (Passengers in Excess of Capacity, or PIXC); our crowding calculations are based on the density of standing passengers without regard to space targets for specific rolling stock types, and all passengers are treated equally.
We are also concerned about the ability of key stations to cope with increased passenger demand, especially at Clapham Junction and Vauxhall, where we are working with Network Rail and South West Trains to develop congestion relief solutions. We are also working with London Boroughs to investigate funding opportunities, for example through Section 106 contributions from large developments.