Having received a rather pathetic letter of apology for service disruptions from the CEO of Southern Railway, I would like to reply in public
As a long-time customer who has paid thousands and thousands of pounds into this service, I am utterly appalled by the way Southern have handled this dispute and allowed the service to disintegrate to the point of being so unreliable that I no longer use it. I have followed the arguments of all sides, and spoken with staff on stations and platforms, and with other customers.
Staff have shown up to drive and conduct trains, only to have them cancelled anyway, followed by announcements blaming staff shortages. Ticket office services have been cut way back, nothing to do with guards. Reimbursements to customers are not being processed. Futhermore, having experienced frequent anti-social behaviour on the lines I travel, which are short trains selected for driver-only operation, I am grateful for the presence of guards to keep the peace and deal with troublemakers.
Try riding out of Brighton in any direction on a Saturday night. Removing the guards would put passengers at increased risk. I would rather pay a bit more and be safe. Southern needs to listen to reason, show some respect to their hard working staff and stop running their service into the ground. The Department for Transportation has been shameful in standing on the sidelines while claiming this is a “private” dispute. If this is what privatisation means, I would rather have a national rail service that can be held to account by citizens.