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Rail Minister urged to take action over failing Southern rail franchise

21 June 2016

Campaign for Better Transport has written to the Minister for Rail, Claire Perry MP, urging her to take action over the failing Southern Rail franchise.

Campaign for Better Transport is concerned by deteriorating passenger experience and poor service levels on parts of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise which is operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). As many as one in 20 trains is significantly late or cancelled, while on the worst performance days over 10 per cent of services are affected in this way.

Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The ongoing problems with Govia Thameslink need to be urgently addressed. Passengers have now endured many months of cancellations and delays, so it is an outrage that the Government recently amended their franchise agreement to allow even more cancellations.

“The Department for Transport must take urgent action to restore public confidence in the franchise, to 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. When train operators let down passengers, it is only right that they face penalties.”

The letter comes in the wake of several passenger protests and industrial action by rail staff.

ENDS

For further information please contact Alice Ridley on 020 7566 6495 / 07984 773 468 or alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. You can read the letter in full below.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).