In news that will make rail users across the country angry, but probably not surprised, Southern Rail’s owner announced their profits hit £100m and also received a £20m Government “bailout.”
If that wasn’t enough bad, boss David Brown got a pay rise. He will get £2.16 million in 2016, up from £1.96 during 2015. Brown’s bumper pay rise will still go-ahead in spite of being the head of a network that has the worst punctuality record of any franchise in the country. Unsurprisingly, there have been accusations of the company rewarding failure.
The troubled rail operator has been the subject of numerous complaints about packed trains, late trains, cancelled trains etc. In August Southern workers went on strike for five days over a row about whether drivers or conductors operate carriage doors.
During the ‘traingate’ saga involving Jeremy Corbyn, many people took to social media to say the Labour Leader should have tried out Southern rail service instead of a Virgin train.
There have been on-going issues and travel chaos for a number of months. Many commuters from Brighton to London have been forced to stand for the entire journey everyday.
Southern even cut services to “make the service more reliable,” which bemused many people who couldn’t see how this would improve their journey to work.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the funds would help the rail operator “get to grips,” with their serious problems.
With ticket prices due to rise next year, Go-Ahead group, who has a 65 per cent stake in Southern operator Govia Thameslink Raiway alongside Keolis, also reported a revenue rise of 4.5 per cent to almost three and a half billion pounds.
Boss David Brown said: “A large part of the role of the GTR franchise is to introduce three new train fleets and modernise working practices. During this period of change, Southern services have been disrupted by restricted network capacity, strike action and increased levels of absence.
“We apologise to the people whose lives have been affected during this time. We continue to work closely with the DfT (Department for Transport), Network Rail and other suppliers and partners to operate the best service possible while delivering the long-term improvements.”
In 2015 Southern cancelled the 7.29am Brighton to London service as it was late on 240 or its 240 journeys that year.