With the following letter, we will address the CEO of Southern Rail directly; and mark it for the attention of the Department for Transport and the Parliamentary Select Committee for Transport, who are currently conducting a Rail Safety Enquiry.
The Association of British Commuters has been advocating for the health and safety of members of the travelling public throughout the summer of 2016; the period during which the Southern Rail crisis has had a catastrophic effect on the lives of commuters across the South.
With little confidence remaining in either GTR’s management, or the DfT’s oversight, we recently instructed our lawyers to write to the Department for Transport of our concern that the severe overcrowding on Southern Rail represents an unacceptable health and safety risk to the public. We currently await a response on the level of monitoring and risk analysis they have conducted, especially as regards the period of the ongoing RMT strikes.
In the meantime, ABC continues to receive daily reports of aggressive competition for trains, mass rushes along platforms, and increased risks to vulnerable passengers; including the disabled, elderly and pregnant. We have also heard reports of what seems to be an increasing frequency of violent and lawless behaviour on the network, and fear that the mass psychological effect of these conditions will grow increasingly dangerous and unpredictable.
Expert social psychologist Dr. John Drury recently suggested that – beyond the factors of stressful overcrowding and open competition for trains – the lack of trust in the management represents an increased risk in terms of the mass psychological effect of these conditions. Several members of our commuter network have made comments to the same effect, noting that ‘the mood is turning darker among passengers’. With the ongoing and catastrophic effect of Southern Rail on individual’s lives; we are seriously concerned that these effects may erupt into increasingly unpredictable behaviour and more serious incidents.
We invite members of our commuter network to comment below about the health and safety incidents they have witnessed or experienced while using Southern Rail. We will be making an official submission of the evidence we accumulate to the Parliamentary Select Committee for Transport, who are currently conducting an enquiry into Rail Safety.
For commuters: when adding your comment, please be as brief and clear as possible, keeping your submission below 80 words, and including the date and location of the incident. Those seeking to make a longer submission should comment in brief here, and follow up with a direct submission to the Select Committee for Transport via this link.