I write with regard to the result of the ASLEF drivers’ ballot on driver only operation of our local trains.
As a fairly regular user of the service, although not seriously inconvenienced by the strikes and consequent disruption, I am very aware of the damage to our town and regular commuters and the damage to the reputation of the railways.
During the time of the recent negotiations with ASLEF the service had returned to normal with the on-board supervisors (guards) reverting to assisting to passengers and drivers only operating the doors.
If anything the punctuality was better than before the strikes started.
This is what Southern is trying to achieve.
It is one aspect of trying to improve the railways to cope with more than doubling of passenger numbers since privatisation in the 1990s.
The vote is doubly disappointing because nearly half the drivers balloted agreed with their leaders and the deal brokered with Southern.
As a passenger I find it very difficult to understand what is so hard for the unions to accept the recommendations of the ORR’s director of railway safety, Ian Prosser.
He oversees one of the safest railway systems in the world, including 30 years of Driver Only Operation.
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