Council leader writes to train companies on behalf of passengers who face further disruption due to reduced timetables  

The Leader of Merton Council has written to three rail operators who run train services through Merton, following weeks of disruption to services due to reduced timetables, short notice cancellations and engineering work.

Councillor Mark Allison wrote to Thameslink, Southern and South Western Railway on behalf of thousands of passengers across the borough who rely on your services to get to work and to make other essential journeys.

In his letter, Councillor Allison highlighted that reduced timetables from all three rail operators have come into effect just as demand for train travel across Merton is set to increase due to long-planned changes to London Underground Northern Line services, with tubes from Morden being cut and diverted via Charing Cross, due to major construction work at Bank Tube station.

Councillor Allison wrote: “The cumulative impact of your service reductions is that our key workers who depend on your services to get to work will be left without a reliable way to commute to frontline roles. Many low-income families will also be among those hit by these cuts to train services, while other Londoners do not have cars. In addition, councils like ours, which has declared a climate emergency, encourage residents to use public transport.”

While Councillor Allison acknowledged the pressures that the train companies’ workforces are currently under, due to staff needing to self-isolate because of COVID-19, he wrote: “I am urgently seeking assurances from you that your reduced timetable will be temporary and that services will return to previous levels as soon as the current wave of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has subsided and your workforce has recovered.”