27 May 2016 | Phil Rogers

Under New Management

As I write this, the keys to Southeastern Railway Action Group are being handed to my friend and colleague at Dartford Rail Travellers’ Association - Mike Pellatt.

For a variety of reasons detailed below, I’m going to focus on other stuff, and Mike and hopefully a few of you who can help him, can make sure that the voices of Southeastern rail users can get out there.

And that Southeastern are properly called to account.

But before I go…I have a few things to say

Our representatives aren’t representing

It’s clear that no matter how loudly one person, or a group of people shout about how Govia’s Southeastern franchise are treating their customers, nothing will be done.

The Department for Transport have lied to us by saying that Southeastern were set “tough targets” whilst I have obtained these figures and shown that even though they haven’t met Public Performance Measurement targets, they have easily met the weak ones set by the DfT, and could even be in line for a taxpayer payout for meeting them so well.

Our MPs don’t care. In the Southeastern are it was their Party that handed Southeastern the direct franchise extension despite their poor performance, and they have been very quiet on the latest performance issue - my MP, Gareth Johnson for Dartford, seems to have vanished into a black hole after being eager to meet to discuss - even responding by email initially! A first for someone still attached to writing letters. And for fairness: yes it was a Labour Govt that initially awarded the franchise to Govia.

The Press also don’t care. Unless it’s an easy “there is disruption” story or “sun reflecting off windows” story they don’t seem to care. Stories that involve a bit of journalistic investigation are way too difficult for the press of today. This is a shame.

Southeastern don’t care either. This has been abundantly clear for the last few years and even more so since TfL pitched taking over their suburban rail services at the start of 2016. They have given up and are running the service for the sole reason of lining their pockets whilst giving customers an even more lacklustre and mediocre service.

And Southeastern management under David Statham feels like an organisation that dictates from the top, has no clear leadership, with staff that don’t trust management. Having sat opposite David in his office for 30 minutes to discuss issues of his company, but instead being told off for some tweets I sent, instead of addressing the issues we were there for, shows what an awful company he is at the head of. And what an awful man he is.

One that bullies, belittles, and is arrogant. Nod a few times, usher is away, look at the cost, look at the dent on his bonus, do nothing.

Cos it’s all about profits, right?

And recent activities over at Southern from ex Southeastern MD Charles Horton shows that the bullying mentality is widespread across the Govia group of companies - maybe David Statham is trying to be as bad as Charles Horton for that next big promotion?

It’s not worth the stress

I formed this group 4 months ago, and within a couple of months we had over 500 followers on Twitter and a very active, very vocal, very good community.

And within 2 weeks featured on the Sunday Politics to talk about the service. Thankfully pre recorded cos when it aired I was in hospital recovering from a major operation after collapsing less than 24 hours after filming that piece! This is a major contributing factor to this decision, as I’d rather focus on my health than a train company that, with it’s lack of heating maintenance, is destroying the health of passengers daily.

And what’s the point if Southeastern, our MP representatives, the press, don’t give a damn?

There isn’t. Well not for me.

I don’t have much time to dedicate to what feels like banging my head against the wall. And in the coming months I’ll be getting married and off on a honeymoon road trip (no trains), and moving house (away from the Govia franchises thankfully).

So with that in mind, it’s time to hand over the reins to Mike who will ensure that Southeastern’s actions are brought to the attention of others, and also brought to account when possible

It’s been fun, and yes David Statham and his bullies at Southeastern have got a reprieve from me (including Mike Gibson and Twitter/social media puppeteer John Till aka ^JT).

Yes folks, the bullies have beaten me. Or more to the point - I can’t be bothered with talking to idiots who clearly don’t give a damn about those that pay their bills.

And I will make clear to Transport for London, when they eventually take over, my disdain at the management team at the top of Govia Southeastern and that they shouldn’t be allowed any involvement in the running of the TfL service. I will be. I stand by my promise to tell them to not hire the liar Mike Gibson, and I’ll extend that two his two colleagues that I met at the meeting in March.

Thank you

…for all your tweets and involvement - keep it up!

The group will be in good hands with Mike, and if you’d like to get involved with the group then let him know via the normal channels!

I’ll still lurk on our social media accounts, and might post a bit - but will make those clear with a ‘-Phil’ suffix.

Of course feel free to follow me on twitter @philmonkey


For the latest follow us on social media:
Twitter:@serailaction
Facebook:Southeastern Railway Action Group
or email:contact@serailaction.uk

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UK Govt petition to remove franchise from Southeastern
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Dartford Rail Travellers' Association