Sadiq Khan: Government must act to end this rail misery
Enough is enough. The winter of misery faced by commuters across southern England has to end now. The Government must act.
Staff have been unable to get to work – costing the economy millions. Parents have been late to collect their children. And patients have missed hospital appointments.
My message to ministers is clear: Govia Thameslink Railway needs to be stripped of the Southern franchise. They have run appalling services for too long. And my message to the trade unions is clear too: call off these strikes immediately and negotiate a solution.
But the ultimate responsibility for this catastrophe lies with the Government and the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling.
This isn’t just about the strikes or Southern. Anyone who relies on Southern, Southeastern or South West services know they have been appalling for years – delays, cancellations and fares going up year after year.
There is only one viable long-term solution - for Transport for London to take control of commuter rail services in London.
TfL is simply better at running commuter lines than the Department for Transport. They have proved it time and again. Just look at the London Overground service – which runs inside and out of London – and has gone from being one of the worst in the country to one of the best since TfL took control.
So it’s time for the Government to put politics aside and do the right thing for commuters. Giving TfL control would mean fewer strikes, fewer delays, more trains, fares frozen and a better service for the entire commuter belt.