Southern co-owner reports £100m yearly profits

The co-owner of the franchise running Southern services has reported a nearly £100m yearly profit.

Southern train SUS-150225-010356001
Southern train SUS-150225-010356001

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which runs the Southern network, has been mired in a dispute with the RMT union for months over changes to the role of conductors.

Staff shortages during the dispute have let to misery for passengers with numerous services delayed or cancelled on a daily basis.

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The Government announced a £20m fund and a new project board to help turnaround the performance of Southern services yesterday (Thursday September 1),

But the Go-Ahead Group, the majority owner of Govia, a joint venture which runs GTR, has announced statutory profits before tax of £99.8m, a rise of 26.8 per cent from the previous year.

David Brown, chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group, apologised for the performance of Southern services and will be turning down a bonus for the year and a pay increase.

In a statement he said: “A large part of the role of the GTR franchise is to introduce three new train fleets and modernise working practices. During this period of change.

“Southern services have been disrupted by restricted network capacity, strike action and increased levels of absence. We apologise to the people whose lives have been affected during this time.

“We continue to work closely with the DfT, Network Rail and other suppliers and partners to operate the best service possible while delivering the long term improvements.”

Mick Cash, general secretary at the RMT, said: “It is also deeply cynical that Southern/Go Ahead have brought forward this mega profit announcement so it doesn’t clash with the strike action by guards next week.

“They are a money-raking disaster that has turned Britain’s railways into a global laughing stock and they should be slung out and replaced by the public sector option.”

The RMT is due to hold a 48-hour strike starting on Wednesday September 7 over GTR’s plans to change the role of conductors to on-board supervisors, with train drivers operating the doors on Southern services instead.

A day-long walkout by station staff represented by the RMT also planned for Wednesday over cuts to ticket office opening hours has been suspended.

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