Southern Rail is failing commuters. We call on the Government to strip them of the franchise.
Labour Party members from Arundel and South Downs spent the morning and evening rush hours talking to commuters at Hassocks, Pulborough and Arundel Stations on Tuesday Jan 3rd. The action happened on the day that rail fares in Sussex went up by nearly 2% - double last year’s increase.
Labour member and Pulborough commuter Jane Mote said “The majority commuters we spoke to have lost days at work and had their family lives severely disrupted because of Southern’s appalling service and backed our call for the Government to strip Southern of their franchise. They were pleased to see our protest and promised to write to their MPs to ask the government to put passengers first, not profit."
Commuters in Sussex are fed up and have been hit hard by Tory rail policies and raising fares. The effects of awarding franchises to companies like Southern have allowed them to profit at a time of running worsening services. In our region there’s a double blow with commuters having to pay more to a train company that can't run trains on time.
The train operator that runs the Southern Rail has the worst customer satisfaction levels in the country. Last year over a third of trains ran late and many were cancelled altogether. The government and Southern Rail would like the public to think that the terrible service is the fault of the staff. The company is continually shifting the blame. The reality is that Southern Rail deliberately keeps staffing at minimum levels and relies of staff to do overtime in order to keep the service running. There are simply not enough drivers, platform staff and guards to run the timetabled service. This is the real reason that the service is so appalling. We say that any company that wants to run train services must employ enough staff to deliver the decent, reliable service that passengers want. The company should stop the scapegoating of staff.
Southern Rail are a total disgrace and the Government is washing their hands of the crisis and abandoning commuters. The complete shambles of the Southern Rail Service lies squarely on the shoulders of the Theresa May and her Government. They should intervene, remove the franchise from Southern and bring an end to the misery of those who have to use the trains.