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Published on : Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Passengers have taken to social media to comment on how their journeys have been affected as a flash 24-hour strike hit the Southern services. The current dispute is over the introduction of driver-only-operated (Doo) trains by Southern on its services in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
According to the media, the bone of contention is it’s where the driver is asked to close the doors at stations, instead of the on-board conductor (guard). Drivers have CCTV in the cabs to check people are clear of the doors, but the unions say it’s still not safe and passengers will get hurt.
Southern posted on its website: “The strike will have a significant effect on Southern services on the whole of the day affected, with no service on many routes and only a limited service between approximately 07:30 BST and 18:00 BST on others, although we will extend the service hours if we are able.”
The train operator has also issued a revised limited timetable, and said some commuters had been expected not to travel during the disruption.
Katy Bourne, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, was one of many people to take to Twitter as they made their journeys to London on Southern’s routes.
Paul Clifton, a media personality, said Govia Thameslink – which operates Southern – carried 620,000 passengers a day, adding: “This dispute is messing up countless lives now, not just on strike days. Yesterday, again, dozens of services were cancelled because there weren’t enough staff to operate all the trains.”
Operator Govia Thameslink (GTR) earlier said the strikes were “completely unnecessary” and called on RMT members to “think again and put passengers first”.
“We plan to run around 60% of our normal train service today. That’s 1,360 trains – we usually run 2,242,” a Govia Thameslink spokesman said.
Southern said 90% of its services into London Bridge and 87.5% of services into London Victoria had arrived on time between 06:00 BST and 09:00 BST.
Some of those passengers seemed to be making the most of the extra time spent completing their journeys.
The RMT union’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “Our members on Southern are rock solid in support of the action this morning in the right to stop the basket-case GTR franchise from ripping apart the safety culture on our railways in the drive for ever-fatter profits.”
He said the union was receiving “fantastic support from passengers on the picket lines and social media”. Social media platforms were flooded with complaints from the passengers facing discomfort in their travel schedules.