Southern Railway services have simply been unacceptable for well over a year now.
On behalf of Crawley passengers this is a topic I spoke about in a House of Commons debate last week.
There were four key areas I highlighted. Firstly, lessons need to be learned by the Department for Transport over the franchise structure. Questions have to be asked over one company running services spanning from Cambridge to Brighton.
Secondly, the network is by far the busiest in the country and is at capacity, or even over capacity, far too often.
To help address this, Network Rail has been allocated £300 million to replace tracks and signalling, renew key junctions, improve security to help deter trespass, address drainage in Victorian era tunnels to prevent electrical equipment water damage and reduce the risk of landslides by shoring-up cuttings and embankments.
Thirdly, the performance of Southern as a company has not been up to an acceptable standard to serve customers.
Fourthly, a recent inquiry called the Gibb Report highlighted how militant trades union leaders continue to prolong the dispute. This was most recently shown from the ASLEF union’s decision for its members to refuse to work overtime after turning down a 23.8 per cent pay rise offer over four years, which would have taken a Southern train driver’s basic pay to £60,683 for a four day, 35 hour week.
Like many of my fellow travellers from Three Bridges Station I have been made late for work in London countless times and have missed out on precious family time due to unacceptable delays and cancellations.
Recent reports state that plans are in place for the RMT union to re-affiliate with the Labour Party. It would be a clear sign of where Labour’s priorities lie if they welcome back into their fold an organisation which has done so much to disrupt the lives of Crawley workers.