Southern Rail Passengers To Protest Over Appalling Service

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 21 months ago

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Southern Rail Passengers To Protest Over Appalling Service
Rail passengers say they are fed up of the poor service on Southern. Photo by Michael Garnett from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Southern rail passengers are holding a protest at Victoria station tonight in objection to the "appalling" levels of service from the train company.

Weeks of industrial action and "unprecedented levels of staff sickness" have caused misery for commuters, compounded by the firm cutting 341 trains from its timetable last week.

Hundreds of passengers have expressed interest in the rush-hour protest, saying they are fed up with the frequent cancellation of trains and overcrowding.

Photo by McTumshie from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Southern is in dispute with the RMT union over the introduction of new trains which means doors are operated by the driver instead of the conductor.

"They blame the unions. The unions blame them. But here, in the middle, sit the thousands of ordinary people. Miserable, angry and dejected," say organisers of the protest, which is due to start at 5.30pm.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: "There is no threat to safety, jobs or pay from the introduction of new trains and no excuse left for industrial action. This is now a big test for the RMT - are you on the side of passengers and employees, or needless disruption?"

A protest is due to be held at Victoria station tonight. Photo by ArUK5 from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: "The axing of nearly 350 trains a day by GTR is a crisis measure designed to rig their appalling performance figures.

"The fewer trains you run, the fewer will be delayed and the better your headline performance statistics will look. That is a fix of epic proportions and the public will not be fooled by this chicanery.

"The new timetable also means that the vast reduction in services, approved by the government, will leave remaining trains dangerously overcrowded and it will be our members at the sharp end left to manage the safety of the passengers while the minister and her GTR colleagues are tucked away in their plush offices."

Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince said: "The dire situation facing Southern Rail passengers emphasises the need for Transport for London to take control of the franchise as soon as possible.

“It’s completely unacceptable that a major rail network is effectively brought to its knees by completely unnecessary industrial action.

"Transport unions should not be allowed to block sensible changes by striking in this way. The only people who lose out are the paying commuters."

See also: A completely scientific way of working out the worst train operator in London.

Last Updated 11 July 2016