Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for the trouble stricken Southern Rail franchise to be handed over to Transport for London (TfL), saying his team are ready to tackle the current strike action.
Southern Rail is currently operating no trains following strike action by the ASLEF union over plans to scrap conductors, with a further 24 hour strike scheduled for Friday 16 December.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Khan called on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to stop ‘playing party politics’ and hand responsibility for commuter services over to TfL.
According to Khan, both Grayling’s predecessor, Patrick McLoughlin, and the former mayor of London Boris Johnson agreed that handing responsibility for running commuter trains on the Southern, Southeastern and South West Trains networks.
Khan told the BBC: “Transport for London has fewer cancellations, fewer delays and fewer strikes. Since I became mayor, we have had 92 per cent fewer strikes because I talk to those who represent our workers.”
He added: “We would make sure the longer lines carry on running under the franchise system, so the government can focus on the longer lines and let us look after the suburban lines. It’s a win win.
“Why the government says no is purely party politics. And in the meantime, we are losing tens of millions of pounds for our businesses, commuters are suffering and patients can’t make appointments. How is that right?”