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Prepare for yet ANOTHER Strike tomorrow

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Well there appears to be no end in sight for yet another major disruption to the Southern Line.

Southern Rail have announced this:

“Southern drivers in the ASLEF and RMT unions have announced industrial action from Tuesday December 6. 

Unfortunately, passengers are advised to expect a severely reduced and disrupted service on every day while this industrial action is in place.

In addition to this, ASLEF and RMT strikes will affect Southern and Gatwick Express services on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 December (RMT conductors’ strike)
  • Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December (ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike)
  • Friday 16 December (ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike)
  • Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December (RMT conductors’ strike) – changed date
  • Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January (RMT conductors’ strike)
  • Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January (ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike)

Please note that the previously announced conductor strike on 22-24 December has been changed to 19-20 December.

Services are expected to be particularly disrupted on the drivers’ strike dates with no services on most routes. There is also likely to be increased disruption over the Christmas and New Year period. Other operators’ services are not affected, but may be busier. Journey planners will only be updated 24 hours before the date in question. Travel updates will be available as soon as they are confirmed on this web page.

We are very sorry for the continued disruption to your journeys.”

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Coronavirus

Southern Rail ticket refunds and service protection as emergency measures begin

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The Government is taking emergency measures to support and sustain necessary rail services as operators face significant drops in their income.

The Department for Transport will temporarily suspend normal franchise agreements and transfer all revenue and cost risk to the government for a limited period, initially six months. Operators will continue to run services day-to-day for a small predetermined management fee.

This will allow us to ensure that trains necessary for key workers and essential travel continue to operate. No other passengers should travel. As we have already announced, services will be reduced from today.

Anyone holding an Advance ticket will be able to refund it free of charge. All season ticket holders can claim a refund for time unused on their tickets free of administrative charges. Ticket holders should contact their operator for details.

The railways have already seen up to a 70% drop in passenger numbers. Rail fares revenue has also reduced as people increasingly work from home and adopt social distancing, with total ticket sales down by two-thirds from the equivalent date in 2019.  

The Government has provided today’s offer to minimise disruption to the rail sector, vital to the wider UK economy, through these difficult times. Allowing operators to enter insolvency would cause significantly more disruption to passengers and higher costs to the taxpayer. The management fee will allow operators to act in the national interest in tackling Covid-19.

Fees will be set at a maximum of 2 per cent of the cost base of the franchise before the Covid-19 pandemic began, intended to incentivise operators to meet reliability, punctuality and other targets. The maximum fee attainable will be far less than recent profits earned by train operators. In the event that an operator does not wish to accept an Emergency Measures Agreement, the Government’s Operator of Last Resort stands ready to step in.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said:

“We are taking this action to protect the key workers who depend on our railways to carry on their vital roles, the hardworking commuters who have radically altered their lives to combat the spread of coronavirus, and the frontline rail staff who are keeping the country moving.

“People deserve certainty that the services they need will run or that their job is not at risk in these unprecedented times. We are also helping passengers get refunds on Advance tickets to ensure no-one is unfairly out of pocket for doing the right thing.

“These offers will give operators the confidence and certainty so they can play their part in the national interest.”  

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said:

“The rail industry is working together so that people and goods can keep making essential journeys during this unprecedented national challenge, getting key workers to hospitals, food to shops and fuel to power stations.

“The industry strongly welcomes the Department for Transport’s offer of temporary support and while we need to finalise the details, this will ensure that train companies can focus all their efforts on delivering a vital service at a time of national need. “We would like to thank our people, who continue to do an incredible job in difficult circumstances.”

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