Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has welcomed plans by Southern Railway to hire more train drivers but has called into question why the company did not do it sooner.
Govia Thameslink (GTR), which owns the network, said it wants to reduce its reliance on driver overtime as it grapples with a long-running dispute involving the RMT and Aslef unions, who are operating a ban on the extra working.
“This initiative to find more trainees is good news for passengers because it should lead to fewer cancelled trains through a lack of drivers, but I fail to understand why it has taken GTR so long to implement it,” said Caroline.
“The dispute has been ongoing for more than a year and the disruption to services is not just on strike days, it’s on other days too due to the overtime ban by the unions.
“You don’t have to be an expert to spot that recruiting more drivers earlier in this dispute would have had a positive effect on services from Eastbourne months ago.
“Fed up passengers might also be thinking why a company running such a vital service should be relying on drivers volunteering for overtime in the first place
“Surely Southern should not have its driver resources at a bare minimum - strike or no strike?”