The chair of Croydon Council’s scrutiny committee has expressed his “strong disappointment” to Govia Thameslink Railway at their failure to send anyone to tonight’s Town Hall meeting that is to look at the chaos affecting tens of thousands of Croydon commuters who have to endure their Southern and Thameslink rail “services” each day.
According to Sean Fitzsimons, GTR “claim they can’t attend Croydon’s Scrutiny Committee as they are waiting the outcome of the House of Commons transport enquiry under Lilian Greenwood”.
But as Fitzsimons, a councillor for Addiscombe West ward, GTR did manage to attend the London Assembly at City Hall yesterday. And they don’t even have the excuse of the trains for not getting to tonight’s meeting: GTR have an office next to East Croydon Station.
Thameslink, Southern and other commuter services in south-east England introduced a wide-ranging new timetable on May 20, which immediately caused transport chaos, with cancellations, late-running trains and confusion and discomfort for passengers and staff.
Now, it appears that GTR are running scared of the people of Croydon and their elected representatives.
In a clearly pissed-off letter to Yvonne Leslie, who glories in the title of “Stakeholder Manager (Southern trains)” at GTR, Fitzsimons wrote: “Croydon’s economy is dependent on having a well-run train service and the current issues are causing damage to our economy, as well as being an immense and unacceptable inconvenience to residents and businesses.”
To emphasise the importance of East Croydon services, Fitzsimons cites Southern’s own claims about the station: “There are almost as many passengers passing through East Croydon as all the intercity journeys to the north of London put together”.
Network Rail has accepted Croydon Council’s invitation to attend a session which, Fitzsimons tells GTR, “is a great chance for your organisation to hear” what affected passengers have to say.
“I would like to remind you that as an organisation that provides a public service you have a duty to be open to scrutiny and be held accountable,” the councillor wrote.
“This is an opportunity for your organisation to understand what the concerns of Croydon residents and businesses are, and to address specific local issues that a House of Commons committee is unlikely to have time to address.”
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