From: Keith Taylor
Green MEP for South East region
In his response to my letter, the Govia Thameslink Railway chief executive Charles Horton seems to be trying to claim that the thorough National Audit Office investigation that found the firm was failing taxpayers, commuters and staff alike was ‘full of misunderstandings’.
Perhaps Mr Horton would like to explain to the commuters experiencing the daily misery of travelling on Southern Rail, exactly what the auditors misunderstood; that Govia Thameslink don’t employ enough drivers, that they don’t provide taxpayers good value for money, or that almost one in 10 of their trains were cancelled or delayed - causing untold frustration for my constituents.
Before Mr Horton reverts to attacking his own staff, perhaps he would also like to acknowledge that his firm operates a route that has, alongside Southern, failed its passengers despite experiencing no industrial action.
Alternatively, he could simply put 2, the report’s conclusion that his firm doesn’t employ enough staff, and 2, his staff took industrial action over understaffing safety fears, together to make 4; his firm’s failings are all of their own makings.
As for Mr Horton’s assertion that the £100m of profit the owners of Southern Rail, the Go-Ahead Group, made isn’t ‘huge’, after Ministers pumped in £20m of taxpayers money into the route, how about we let the commuters make up their own minds on that one?
In fact, Mr Horton, how about we host a joint public meeting where we can discuss these issues and more with passengers themselves?