163 pages with 38 recommendations but states Southern should not be stripped of its franchise From The Argus FRUSTRATED commuters will have to put up with Southern for years to come after a much anticipated report revealed the damaging implications of stripping the firm of its franchise.
Southern looks likely to remain in charge until 2021 after rail industry expert Chris Gibb spelt out the risks of the franchise's ongoing industrial dispute escalating nationwide and the potential for huge setbacks to recent improvements. Rail Minister Paul Maynard told The Argus Mr Gibb had been specifically tasked to look at the implications of such a drastic move in response to calls from commuters and pressure groups. The Government commissioned the Network Rail director to carry out a report last year into how the Southern Rail network could be improved. His 163 page report was completed in January, had its April release pushed back because oakley sunglass outlet of the election and was eventually made public yesterday with some sections redacted for legal reasons. Mr Maynard said the service had improved significantly since the beginning of the year as recommendations from the report, including 300 million to replace worn out infrastructure, were being implemented. Mr Maynard would not be drawn on when commuters could expect a service that would meet national targets but said it would be "a case of constant improvement" with the changes introduced since January. Of the report's 38 recommendations, 34 have already been completed, are underway oakley sunglasses new models or assigned to the relevant body to take forward. The report warns that only two franchise agreements had ever been terminated and both oakley sunglasses on clearance were "steady state" operations while Southern was currently not. Mr Gibb also warned that it would in effect nationalise the ongoing dispute with unions, strengthening their hand and opening up challenges to driver only operations on other franchises, including the London Underground. Mr Maynard said: "Having heard so much public concern regarding the franchise, it was vital we specifically asked Mr Gibb about the removal of the franchise and he was quite clear that it would be disastrous after finally getting it right now and for future improvements. "What happens for the franchise renewal is for due process to take place. It would be unlikely to keep the franchise in the current form again." Hove MP Peter Kyle said: "I want the best for passengers the best people and the best equipment. It seems clear that the Government will allow Southern more time to change its delivery. I can't change that. That direction has been chosen by this Tory government." Charles Horton, GTR chief executive officer, said: "The only way to address the capacity problem is to modernise infrastructure, trains, systems and working practices. "We urge our trade unions to play their part by working with oakley official store us on the modernisation of working practices and have assured them that there will be no job losses. "Performance on Southern has improved for six consecutive months since this report was written. "Things are moving in the right direction, and we believe they will continue to do so as our investment and modernisation programme bears further fruit." GOVERNMENT MUST BE 'MUSCULAR' IN DISPUTE PETER Kyle has called on the Government to be "active and muscular" in a bid to finally resolve the impasse between trains bosses and unions in the Southern Rail dispute. The Hove MP made the call for the Government to step from the sidelines and act now in the wake of the publication of the Gibb Report and the announcement of more industrial action. The report, made public yesterday, said that a good service could be delivered by Southern by the end of 2018 if the dispute can be resolved. Mr Kyle said: "The only time that industrial relations have moved in a direction that has any positive impact in this crisis is when the government has actively participated. "This is something I have been calling for from the very first day I became an MP. "The Government that won the election cannot rest up for a second. I expect it to be active and muscular and never again sit on the sidelines while an industrial dispute grows from a dispute into a nightmare." Rail Minister Paul Maynard said the ball was in the unions' court. He said: "We have been as fully involved as we can and we have been working towards improving the service with a 300 million investment since receiving the report in January. "The ball is very much in the union's court.
We have seen the benefits of industrial stability with the Public Performance Measure going from as low as 62 per cent in December to 85 per cent in the most recent figures. "That is a significant improvement though we do aspire to be better, to hit the national targets, but it is a great step forward and we look to the unions and GTR to end their dispute.".
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