Restoring normal service: passengers and the Gibb report – Transport Focus response

22 June 2017

Passengers using Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services in the last two years have endured a torrid time. Chris Gibb’s hard hitting report lays bears many of the reasons why.

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of the transport user watchdog, Transport Focus, said:

‘The elements of a unstable mixture of track and signals in poor condition, no one person clearly in charge, rising passenger numbers, an undeliverable timetable, re-building at London Bridge and other places plus new trains being introduced were and, to a degree still are, all present. This mixture was ignited by industrial action which wrecked plans. Passengers, who pay the lion’s share of running the day to day railway, have borne the brunt of the problems. This is simply unfair.

‘Passengers will now want some questions answered: who is now in charge? What is the recovery plan? And what are the realistic prospects for improved performance in 2018 as the increased Thameslink service and London Bridge improvements kick in? We passengers need a more reliable railway. Everyone wants to see more investment in the railway, but it must be done in a way that keeps passengers on board’

‘It is good that some of the actions identified in the report, and funding to go with them and improvements to compensation, are already underway. Passengers will also want re-assurance from the Government that the lessons learned from this episode are understood by all involved and are being acted on in future planning, projects and franchises.’

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