Commuters from Brighton and Hove are joining a protest about Southern’s train service at Victoria Station this evening (Thursday 29 September).
The protest – organised by the the Association of British Commuters – is due to start on the concourse at Victoria at 6pm.
It comes as the association edged closer to its £25,000 crowdfunding target for legal fees to bring a judicial review of the Department for Transport’s handling of the Southern franchise.
The association believes that the problems at Southern’s owner – Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – are in part caused by the DfT.
Having already exceeded its original £10,000 target, the association has now raised almost £20,000 from more than 1,000 supporters.
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The group said: “The Southern Rail crisis cannot be resolved until we achieve the clarity that can only be found in essential documents currently redacted or undisclosed by the DfT.
“They have so far failed to reveal these documents, either to lawyers, the public or to the Parliamentary Select Committee for Transport itself.
“Our call for #SouthernJustice is the commuter’s last resort – no progress can be made until the public are able to assess the contents of these essential documents – the only way to determine if, and how, Govia are in breach of their franchise agreement.
“These include documents referred to in the franchise agreement, the breach notice served on Govia on 7 July 2015 (which the DfT has a clear duty to publish) and the disclosure of a complete copy of February’s remedial plan, by which it is possible to assess whether Govia has been compliant.
“We also feel strongly that the public have a right to see the report by Chris Gibb’s project board of 1 September, which has not been made public.
“Much of the media focuses on a simple narrative of unions v management. We believe this depiction is vastly insufficient in analysing the real timescale and issues behind the crisis and, more worryingly still, the dangers behind a unique kind of ‘management contract’ that may see GTR acting at the behest of the government while the DfT continue to avoid all transparency and accountability.”
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