London Labour MP Chuka Umunna has called commuter rail services around the capital an “appalling joke”.
The Streatham MP particularly targeted Southern Rail which, he said, “has admitted they don’t even have enough drivers and they don’t have enough decent trains – basic things in providing a service”.
It follows another spell of delays along commuter routes caused by signal failures and the aftermath of Storm Desmond, which caused landslips. Figures for Tuesday, December 15, show that Southern Rail only hit 24% of timetable targets.
Talking to Leader of the House Chris Grayling in the Commons, Mr Umunna said: “Will you get the Transport Secretary here to give a statement or at least write to us explaining what you’re going to do to get these companies to sort their act out? They have broken promise after promise. Enough is enough.”
Mr Grayling replied: “I understand the pressures on the line which passes through your constituency and of course they are affected by the massive investment taking place at London Bridge, which will create a much better infrastructure for the future as well as the completion of the Thameslink service on what is now the integrated franchise.”
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More of 70% of conductors at Southern Rail have voted for strike action over rostering issues.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The staffing shortages on Southern are a disgrace and are creating daily problems. Our members have now shown just how angry they are in this ballot result which will now be considered by the union’s executive.
“This is a vital and lucrative franchise where commuters pay thousands of pounds a year to travel on services that are chronically under-staffed and RMT members have had enough of it.”
On the wider issue, Mr Cash said: “It is time the Government got a grip and stopped dangling gold-plated franchises in front of European state rail operators and gave a British state provider a chance to sort this mess out.
“State-owned rail companies from across Europe are queuing up to milk our railways to subsidise their own domestic operations. This scandal has to stop.”
Southern Railways Performance Figures
Excerpt from southernrailway.com
Performance results for Tuesday 15th December 2015
Due to a technical issue with our automated performance reporting system, Public Performance Measure (PPM) figures for some areas of our network were reported as being 100% on Tuesday. Clearly this was incorrect and we apologise for this.
The correct PPM figures for Tuesday 15th December were as follows:
GREAT NORTHERN PPM 81.5%, Right Time 43.07%
GATWICK EXPRESS PPM 21.74%, Right Time 14.29%
SOUTHERN METRO PPM 32.99%, Right Time 17.92%
SOUTHERN MAINLINE PPM 20.44%, Right Time 10.88%
SOUTHERN COASTWAY PPM 63.55%, Right Time 39.50%
THAMESLINK PPM 43.13%, Right Time, 23.92%
TOTAL PPM 44.11%
TOTAL Right Time 24.72%