Petition to hand Thameslink line back to TfL reaching its end date

PUBLISHED: 14:58 14 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 14 July 2016

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A petition urging Govia Thameslink to give up the Thameslink franchise is nearing its end date.

The UK Government and Parliament petition was set up nearly six months ago and currently only has about a tenth of the signatures required for the government to respond.

It calls for the franchise to be handed over to Transport for London (TfL) and the deadline for people to show their support is July 22.

Thought to be set up by a disgruntled commuter, the petition reads: “Commuters suffer from driver shortages, old trains, short formations and regular cancellations. The franchise should be cancelled and handed over to TfL.”

It needs 10,000 signatures for the governemnt to respond to the petition, and 100,000 for it to be considered for a debate in parliament.

Spokesman for Govia Thameslink Roger Perkins said: ““We have been recruiting and training drivers as fast as we can to help resource the huge improvement programme, because driver shortages are caused for the most part by the huge amount of training going on to bring passengers the new trains this petition is calling for.

“In fact the first of our new Class 700 Thameslink trains have just started running on the St Albans route and these are fixed in length, so they can never be short formed, and they are up to half as long again as the older trains they will replace.

“When the improvement work at London Bridge is finished, in 2018, we’ll also be able to increase the number of these trains – by around a third across the morning peak giving passengers much needed extra capacity.”

Thameslink passengers have been enduring further delays to their journeys recently because of an on-going dispute between Southern Rail, also owned by Govia, and transport union RMT.

The dispute follows the change of the role of conductors on Southern Rail trains.

Roger Perkins added: “Since the dispute began in April, there have been large numbers of cancellations to Southern services as a result of high levels of sickness and a lack of available traincrew.

“Southern have just put in place a timetable with 15% fewer services to better manage this difficult situation and Southern passengers are being allowed to travel on Thameslink services as a result.”

If you would like to sign the petition, visit: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/119480

* Commuters endured severe delays after a brand-new train broke down at St Albans station on Tuesday morning.

The 7.34am train to Brighton had to be moved onto the sidetracks for engineers to work on it.

The 700 train is one of the new trains brought in by Govia and has only been on the tracks a short while.

A Govia spokesperson said they were unsure how many trips the train had made previously but confirmed that the breakdown had led to ‘residual delays’.

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