Wealden MP Nus Ghani speaking in the House of Commons (file photograph)

Uckfield Line operator faces House of Commons grilling

Executives from the train company which operates the Uckfield Line face a grilling by MPs.

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has summoned executives from Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates the Southern franchise, to appear before them, as part of an inquiry into improving passengers’ experience on the railways.

Wealden Nus Ghani MP has repeatedly calling for them to be called before the Committee to answer questions about their “long-term failure to provide a standard of service that is acceptable to the many passengers who are constantly affected by disruption”.

She wrote to the Chair of the Committee, Louise Ellman MP, in both July 2015 and January 2016, requesting that senior members of GTR staff be asked to appear before the Committee, and followed this by leading calls for an inquiry in a debate held in March 2016.

Commenting, Nus Ghani MP said: “I am pleased and relieved that the Transport Select Committee is finally heeding our calls and asking GTR executives to appear before them to give evidence.

“While the current industrial dispute has led to service failures on a new and wholly unacceptable level, for which I hold the unions responsible, the basic level of service provided by Southern has been unsatisfactory for a long time.

“It is therefore right and proper that those who are ultimately responsible for the service that is provided to passengers are asked searching questions by the Transport Select Committee, the most appropriate public forum for this kind of issue.

“I will be liaising with the Committee over the coming days to make sure that they are fully aware of the situation, and the terrible disruption that my constituents have to put up with, before the evidence session takes place next week.”

Many passengers on the Uckfield Line have also called for Southern to be put in front of the Transport Select Committee, a call that has been echoed by this website’s independent columnist, Observer.

Select committees have wide powers to question witnesses. High profile examples in recent weeks include businessmen Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley.

Uckfield Line commuters brace for a week of misery

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