Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has called on Govia Thameslink Rail to halt changes to staff employment roles in an attempt to improve services in the region.
The operator wants to introduce driver only operation and change the role of conductors to onboard supervisors in a move that has sparked a dispute with the RMT.
Recent strikes have compounded problems on the line from Eastbourne to London and Caroline feels that at a time of massive challenge to services with London Bridge being redeveloped and investment much needed, now is not the time to make matters worse with a dispute.
“The service is utterly unacceptable at the moment and passengers are at their wits’ end,” said Caroline.
“I understand this is not all Govia Thameslink’s fault, because it is also the fault of a lack of investment over decades, Network Rail’s poor fault response times and the redevelopment of London Bridge.
“But this dispute is not helping as it is causing, in my view, a bad situation to become worse.
“Calls for Govia to be stripped of their franchise is understandable but just not practical. Everyone needs to be working together to make this terrible situation better and we need to be mindful of what we wish for.
“If Govia goes, what replaces it? Who is standing ready to step in? How will a painful transition improve the situation? And will it make a rapid difference to beleaguered passengers right now?
“I am meeting with Govia today where I will spell out my position. I hope they will consider it and I will be asking them if they have the capability to run this franchise until 2021.”