The Reigate, Redhill & District Rail Users Association (RRDRUA) has criticised this week’s strike by conductors on Southern.
The dispute is around the introduction of driver-only operated (DOO) trains, where the driver will be responsible for operating the doors .
The RMT union says it is concerned about safety, as explained on its campaign webpage “Keep the guard on the train – keep the train safe”.
But Southern says on a webpage that the scheme is safe, and there will be “as many staff on board to support you as there are today”, noting that there are no salary reductions or job losses.
In a statement yesterday, 8 August, the local rail users’ group said:
“RRDRUA is very disappointed that the RMT and GTR Southern have been unable to resolve their differences and that rail users are again going to find total failure again in trying to go about their daily lives.
The members of the RMT have guaranteed jobs, a good salary and a reasonable work/life balance. Whereas the long suffering commuters are under threat of losing jobs, losing salary, losing holiday and being unable to get home to their families.
The RMT leadership shows utter contempt to the rail users by ruining their daily lives for the honour of pushing a button to close train doors.
Along the Redhill route, the 10,000 daily East Surrey commuters find their daily commute, which has already heavily suffered cuts since 2012, is now even worse.”
RRDRUA highlighted the impact of the strike on local rail services:
“Earlswood & Salfords stations are closed. The entire Tonbridge line is closed. Coulsdon South, Merstham & Horley have a limited off-peak only service so virtually closed for the majority of users. Services to London from Reigate are not running at all, leaving a limited connecting service. Trains from Redhill are one-third of the normal level (a 60% cut in a service that has been cut consistently since 2012).”
The group also criticised GTR for the fact that the last trains direct from London to Redhill are at around 7pm during the strike. Later evening travellers to Redhill or Reigate have to change at Gatwick and then travel back up the line, or travel via Dorking. RRDRUA said:
“GTR Southern and Thameslink will still be running 8 trains per hour to Gatwick straight through Redhill but are unable to plan a service to stop at Redhill.
All in all another heavy slap in the face for the poor, tired and frustrated commuters in East Surrey. The Government needs to step and make sure Redhill route commuters get a better normal service and some respect from themselves and the rail companies.”
Last week RRDRUA chairperson Stephen Trigg wrote to Charles Horton, CEO at GTR, asking that some evening services call at Redhill.
Information on revised timetables, alternative routes and compensation during the strike is available on the Southern strike information webpage.