MPs condemn franchising

13 October 2016

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee tomorrow (Friday) publishes its sixth report, into the future of rail and improving the passenger experience. It is expected to have some interesting things to say about the plight of staff, and passengers, on Southern Railways, and to urge the government 'to get a grip' on the problems of rail franchise agreements.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, said: ‘We welcome the report from the Transport Select Committee and its recognition that the privatised train operating company GTR Southern is in default and, therefore, that the brand is now regarded as toxic in the eyes of the travelling public, and the taxpayer,as well as its thoroughly demoralised employees.

‘The report does not share the responsibility with Peter Wilkinson and the Department for Transport deliberately creating the issues and problems, along with GTR’s willingness to be their agent. The railway industry is unlikely to recover because of these policies and future investment, which is reliant on goodwill and flexibility for delivery, will be seriously impacted.

‘Asking the vested interests to manage information about the situations they create through the Rail Delivery Group and the Association of Train Operating Companies has not worked in the past - and is not likely to be trusted in the future.’

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