New transport secretary says Southern dispute is his priority

THE new transport secretary says solving the Southern rail crisis is his first priority.

Chris Grayling was today meeting managers from Southern’s owner Govia Thameslink Railway about the standard of service.

Southern has started a new reduced timetable until further notice in a bid to ensure advertised trains run despite continuing high levels of sickness among conductors.

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A big increase in sickness rates has come during an ongoing dispute with the RMT over the proposed extensions of driver-only operations on Southern. The dispute has already led to a series of 24-hour strikes.

Mr Grayling told the BBC that Southern’s performance has ‘got to improve quickly.’