Green Councillors have said Brighton & Hove City Council should intervene directly in the growing crisis affecting rail services for commuters and visitors to the city, as concerns are raised over impacts of inadequate rail services to the Pride festival in August.
At a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council on Thursday, Labour councillors have put forward a motion proposing that the Council “calls on the city’s MPs, the Greater Brighton Economic Board, the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership and other relevant bodies to press the Government to act on rail infrastructure and services at the earliest opportunity”.
Greens have welcomed the motion but say it does not go far enough to address the daily struggles of commuters and visitors to the city, and say that the failing franchise managed by Govia Thameslink must be returned to public ownership as soon as possible.
Green Councillors have submitted an amendment to Labour’s motion, requesting that the council write to the GTR Chief Executive to demand the company implement better compensation for passengers and guarantee additional capacity for the Pride festival. The amendment also requests that the Council writes to the Railways Minister to set out concerns over passenger safety associated with changing the role of the conductors, and take immediate steps to restore services, reduce overcrowding and improve reliability under public ownership.
Green Councillor Louisa Greenbaum, spokesperson for the Greens on Environment, Transport and Sustainability said:
“We welcome Labour’s proposal to bring the rail crisis to Council for debate this week, an issue which Greens have been pushing for urgent action on for considerable time now, and which Caroline Lucas MP has raised in Parliament numerous times.
“However, we feel that the situation with rail services has become so dire that it is not sufficient for the Labour administration simply to ask others to act on their behalf. Local MPs from all parties agree that something needs to be done to address the distress experienced by residents on a daily basis and the impact that GTR’s failures are having on our local economy. That’s why the Council should be acting directly to write to both the Chief Executive of GTR and the new Rail Minister calling on them to take action.
“We would like to see immediate steps taken to restore services, reduce overcrowding and improve reliability. This can be best achieved by stripping GTR of its franchise and bringing rail services back into transparent and accountable public hands”.