Govia decision to be made “within weeks”
A decision on what (if any) action to take against Govia Thameslink Railway will be made “within a number of weeks”, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling told MPs at the House of Commons Transport Select Committee inquiry into timetable changes on October 22.
Grayling said the Department for Transport is “actively considering [options which involve] penalising GTR. That could involve taking the franchise away.”
However, if the latter intervention occurred, he added that it would be done on a “legally sound” basis to protect taxpayers’ interests.
He also said that he did not want to risk causing further disruption to passengers, and that he does not have a team which can immediately run the franchise.
“Taking away any franchise is not a straightforward process, and I would have to be satisfied that in doing so we would make things better and not worse for passengers,” he said.
Making it clear that he had not made a final decision about the operator, should the franchise remain with Govia, Grayling told the committee he had “plenty of levers” his team could use.
“There is no question of getting off scot-free,” he said.