Mayor urges the Government to take over Southern rail service

12 July 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on the Government to strip Govia Thameslink Railway of their franchise as he is appalled at the “unceasing misery” being inflicted on tens of thousands of passengers by the operator of Southern Rail.

He has urged the Department for Transport to take temporary responsibility for operation of the Southern rail services, and asked them to work with his team on putting in place a speedier timetable for the transfer of suburban rail services to Transport for London.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am appalled by the unceasing misery that Southern Rail has inflicted on tens of thousands of passengers, and I share their outrage at the lack of action to address it. Passengers are paying thousands of pounds for a service that rather than being 'turn up and go' has become 'turn up and hope'. Their frustration at such a disgraceful level of service is obvious and it is justified.

“This utter mess is now an embarrassment to our city, it is an insult to hard-working Londoners who pay their fares and it must be fixed. That is why I am calling on the Government to strip Southern of its franchise and take over the temporary responsibility of running these services.

“Ministers need to put in place a new and faster timetable for handing over inner suburban rail services to Transport for London, so that we can provide passengers with the improved services, stations and fares they deserve. My team is ready and willing to work with the Government on transferring responsibility for those services to Transport for London in a far speedier fashion.”

Notes to editors

• In 2001 the rail franchise for the south central network changed hands after Connex was criticised for poor customer service and financial management. The Strategic Rail Authority re-let the contract on new terms and Connex subsequently agreed to the new franchisee taking over early, having run the contract for just five of its seven years.

• In 2003 Connex South Eastern were also stripped of their franchise (8 years early) due to poor financial management

• In 2007 GNER were stripped of the East Coast mainline franchise due to poor financial management and it was subsequently awarded to National Express East Coast.

• In 2009 it was announced that National Express East Coast planned to default on the East Coast Mainline franchise, having failed to renegotiate the contractual terms of operation. As a result the Department for Transport announced it would establish a publicly owned company to take over the franchise.

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