Campaigners have applied for a judicial review into the government's handling of the Southern fiasco. Govia Thameslink (GTR) took on the Southern rail franchise in 2015 and its contract with the Department for Transport (DfT) runs for another 4 years!
As I have regularly reported, there has been an industrial dispute with the RMT (conductors) getting on for a year, and now with the drivers union, Aslef, too. The Transport for All campaign group asserts that the Government should have done more to ease disruption; but, as I have regularly reported, the Government is funding GTR to beat the trade unions. A Department for Transport spokesperson said they are unable to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing.
Transport for All, which campaigns for travellers with disabilities and older travellers, has joined the Association of British Commuters in requesting that a Judicial Review be held into the Department's handling of the Southern Railway dispute with the unions, particularly in respect to the impact on older travellers and travellers with disabilities. The Association of British Commuters has already applied for a review in January and is awaiting a decision from the Royal Court of Justice.
A spokesperson for the campaign asserted: "Accessible public transport is a lifeline to inclusion for many disabled people who disproportionally rely on it to go about their everyday lives. The Southern rail crisis caused disruption and misery to disabled and older people, leaving many unable to travel to work and increasingly isolated. Yet throughout the strikes the DfT has remained silent."
A spokesperson for Southern Railway said: "We aim to give excellent assistance and are very sorry to hear about these passenger experiences. Over 440,000 journeys were made on Southern with disability railcards last year and only a tiny fraction resulted in a complaint that assistance was not provided. We regularly carry out call-back surveys with disabled passengers and 'mystery shop' so that we can look at what we can change to improve."
For more information see the Disability News Service website.