Strike days continue despite the fact that the RMT has agreed to let its members sign up to become On-Board Supervisors as opposed to continuing their role as Guards. Strikes will continue until 8 December but there seems no end to the dispute.
So, the misery for commuters continues! I hope everyone in our local area will pressurise both parties to end the strikes. For my part, back in July, I successfully got the Lewes District Council to support the Mayor of London’s proposal that the Southern franchise should be operated by Transport for London. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, chose to ignore this plea by our Council which was also supported by Wealden and Eastbourne councils. At the September meeting of the Lewes District Council’s Scrutiny Committee I proposed a motion, which was passed, inviting both the Department for Transport and Govia/GTR to come to Lewes and explain to the committee how they propose to get services back to normal. Govia/GTR have agreed to a meeting which will take place on 10 November 2016. Click here for more info
More recently the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee issued a report cited the “woeful” experience of Southern passengers, who have faced months of industrial action and staff shortages. The committee urged Transport Ministers to “get a grip” on monitoring rail franchise agreements amongst other things. The committee have an inquiry underway titled ‘Improving the rail passenger experience.’ Click here to see their report
Pressure continues from other quarters: A group of commuters have raised more than £24,000 to launch legal action against the Department for Transport. For more information click here
Transport focus by Cllr Vic Ient:
In March 2016 at I attended Amber Rudd’s Transport Summit Hastings – this was before the current dispute started. This was a rather glossy event papering over the cracks of all of the rail problems we have in the south-east. Speakers included many of the great and good of the rail and bus industry in the south-east including Charles Horton the CEO of GTR. For more information on this event click here
Ever since I was a councillor on Kent County Council in the 1970s I have been interested in improving our transport solutions in the UK. I am an active supporter of the Campaign for Better Transport (http://bettertransport.org.uk/ ). I have researched the 2002 South Coast Corridor Multi Modal Study and have tried to get the government to implement this instead of just building roads. In 2016 I attended the Transport Summit in Hastings. Early in 2016 I attended the Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Strategy workshop in London. As a member of the South Downs Society I working with my colleagues to reviewing the current government proposals for an A27 road only solution along the south coast between Polgate and Chichester. I also follow Railfuture’s campaign (http://www.railfuture.org.uk/ ) for better rail solutions in the south-east especially restoring the rail link between Uckfield and Lewes.