Uckfield Line commuters will again battle to and from work in London and East Croydon today (August 9) in the teeth of the second day of the RMT strike.
All services from the town have been suspended for this week and people are driving to nearby stations, many into Kent to catch South Eastern trains from Tunbridge Wells, which is unaffected by the strike of conductors.
Explanation demanded from Southern
Wealden MP Nus Ghani yesterday demanded an explanation from train operator Southern as to why there were no trains on the Uckfield Line.
She said the lack of replacement services for Wealden constituents was disappointing.
She also spoke to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to emphasise to him the extent of the disruption being caused to passengers.
‘Irresponsible and totally unnecessary’
She commented: “The fact that a ballot of 393 union members has resulted in a strike affecting roughly 300,000 daily service users is utterly irresponsible and totally unnecessary.
“The only thing it will achieve is to cause more misery for passengers.”
Ms Ghani criticised both the company and the union.
She said: “Neither party in this dispute has covered themselves in glory.
Criticism of RMT and Southern
“The RMT’s position is in my view unjustified, and Govia Thameslink’s (Southern’s parent company) handling of the situation has been disappointing.
“This afternoon I spoke to the new Transport Secretary as the first day of the strike unfolded and its impact was felt across the South East.
“I wanted to relay directly the strength of feeling and anger that the strike is causing people just trying to go about their lives.
“I have requested a further meeting with him or the Rail Minister next week, and we will continue to be in touch until the situation is resolved.
Why no services on Uckfield Line
“I have also written to Govia Thameslink to ask them to explain how and why the decision was taken to leave the line to Uckfield with no services or replacement services, while other lines are much better served.
“I have asked for confirmation that they explored, and are continuing to explore, all options for replacement services.
“The compensation that is available for season ticket holders and passengers who had advance tickets is also of huge importance to many of my constituents, and I am keen to find out what compensation may be available for those who have had to pay for accommodation in London during the week in order to be able to work.
“Day one of the strike has caused huge frustration as expected.
“We are used to having a misery line to Uckfield which is bad a lot of the time, but even a misery line is better than having no line at all.
“I am making sure that ministers, GTR and the RMT are all aware of the effect this is having.
“There is still time for the union to return to the table and end this irresponsible strike, and I call on them to do so.”
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