A message from Patrick Verwer, CEO of GTR

Published: 07 Apr 2020

This is an exceptional time for everyone. We are determined to protect our people, our customers and the train services that key workers are relying on. Now that the first stage of a revised timetable is in place, I wanted to share with you an update on our work and our priorities.

This is an exceptional time for everyone. We are determined to protect our people, our customers and the train services that key workers are relying on. Now that the first stage of a revised timetable is in place, I wanted to share with you an update on our work and our priorities.  

 

Over the past two weeks, we have worked closely with industry colleagues and the Department for Transport to review our operations and ways of working.  As a result, the Government has announced that alongside the revised timetable, Rail Operators in the UK would be protected from the financial impact of a significantly reduced customer base. This will protect our staff and ensure that they are not worrying about job security at a time when the business needs to guarantee running essential train services for key workers. 

 

My team is now working with hospitals and obtaining feedback from customers to ensure that our services are the best possible match under the circumstances. I would like to thank those of you who have already contributed your knowledge to help shape these services. I know that Angie Doll, Managing Director of Southern and Gatwick Express, who is also leading our cross-business Covid-19 response team will continue to update you regularly.  

 

Clearly, it will be some time before normal life resumes and our business is now focused on three priorities: 

  1. Providing as many train services as possible to support key workers to deliver their essential work. 
  2. Ensuring that everyone goes home safe by doing what we can to protect the health of our people and our customers. 
  3. Strengthening our efforts to care for the vulnerable across the railway network. 

 

Our need to care for the vulnerable has always been a very personal concern and that need is regrettably intensifying. Building on our successful partnerships, I have asked Tom Moran, Managing Director of Thameslink and Great Northern to lead this effort across GTR. With our partners at Network Rail and the British Transport Police this includes strengthening our outreach, community engagement and protection of known hotspots. We also know that our staff need support, and while modified for social distancing, we are continuing our successful training partnership with the Samaritans.  

 

Everyone across the railway is working together to keep services operating at this very difficult time. From drivers to station staff and cleaners, all play a vital part in keeping the country moving.  The country is looking to us to help in the fight against Coronavirus and I for one, have never been prouder to lead GTR. Our work is more important than ever, and I would like to thank those of you who have been in touch with messages of support. These messages are shared across the business and speaking to station colleagues, are playing an enormous role in keeping spirits up.  

 

This is an unsettling time for everyone. Our message to the customers that are relying on us is that we will support them, that we understand what they are going through and that we are in it together. 

 

We will keep you updated, and I look forward to seeing you in the near future.  

 

Yours sincerely,  

Patrick Verwer 

Chief Executive Officer  

Govia Thameslink Railway 

 

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