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Southern Rail Passengers – Join our March and have your voice heard, urge campaigners

5 August 2016

Campaign for Better Transport and the Association of British Commuters want passengers to join them in marching to protest against the failing Southern Rail service and deliver a giant letter to rail minister.

Passengers are asked to meet at London Victoria Station on Wednesday 10 August at 5.30pm to march to the Department of Transport.

The march will be headed by a giant six foot letter, signed by Southern passengers, which will be presented to Paul Maynard, the new rail minister, with three asks: listen to passengers, freeze fares and pay compensation.

Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“We are forced into this action as Southern Rail passengers are fed up with suffering such a poor service. The ongoing problems with Southern Rail need to be urgently addressed and it is time for the Department for Transport to take urgent action to restore public confidence in the franchise.

“The DfT must ensure passengers receive greatly improved services and appropriate compensation, to enforce franchise commitments, and to agree mechanisms so performance levels do not fall to such levels again."

Summer Dean from the Association of British Commuters said:

“We are sick and tired of this constant blame passing between Southern Rail and the Government and are fed up to the back teeth of the constant delays, cancellations and poor excuses.

“We are calling on all angry Southern passengers to have their voice heard by signing our giant letter and to join us in marching in protest against this miserable situation.

“The Government must be told that it's not acceptable to continue charging passengers high fares for unreliable, late and packed trains.”

People can register their interest in joining the march by emailing Lianna.etkind@bettertransport.org.uk or by simply turning up at Victoria Station on Wednesday 10 August at 5:30pm and look out for the banners.  

For further information please contact:

Richard Watkins, Press Officer, at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

 Notes to editors

  • The three asks are: Listen to passengers. Alongside a senior manager from Southern and a Union official, attend a Passenger Assembly we will organise, and answer our questions directly!; Freeze fares for Southern customers - from January for one year and Compensation for Southern customers to make up for 15 per cent decrease in services.
  • Read Campaign for Better Transport’s blog on the problems with Southern Rail services here – Sorting out Southern
  • The National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) undertaken by Transport Focus and published on 30 June 2016 had Southern (69 per cent) receiving the lowest rating for overall satisfaction. 
  • In February the Department for Transport agreed to change the terms of Govia Thameslink’s franchise agreement to allow the company to increase train cancellations by a third, from 23,391 to 32,000 a year, representing almost 9000 additional cancellations per year. 
  • Campaign for Better Transport’s Fair Fares Now campaign is calling for affordable prices, even for peak times and turn-up-and-go tickets; reliable services that aren't overcrowded; and straightforward tickets that make train travel simple. 
  • Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929 
  • The Association of British Commuters is an action group set up by Southern Rail passengers who want to take a stand and let the Government know that they have had enough of suffering unreliable, late and packed trains. www.associationofbritishcommuters.co.uk

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