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TfL boss sorry for rail firm attack

Published 29/04/2015

Sir Peter Hendy has written to the chief executive and managing director of the Go-Ahead Group to apologise
Sir Peter Hendy has written to the chief executive and managing director of the Go-Ahead Group to apologise

A transport boss has apologised for disparaging comments he made about a leading rail operator.

Sir Peter Hendy, Transport for London's transport commissioner, said in a magazine interview that services on Southeastern were "shit" and described commuting as "like stepping into the Wild West".

He has written to David Brown, chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group, and David Statham, managing director, to apologise to all employees for the remarks.

"I am quoted in Management Today being offensive about Southeastern trains and its staff. My comment is unjustified and excessive and I apologise.

"I know everyone there is doing their best to offer a good service in the context of the franchise you have and the infrastructure you operate on.

"If there is a context, the interview was several weeks ago during the worst of the issues at London Bridge. But that's not an excuse. Passion is no excuse for insult. Sorry."

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, which represents ticket inspectors, said: "Our ticket inspectors do a difficult enough job without these sort of crass comments from Sir Peter adding to their often stressful working day.

"We know from personal experience that the commissioner can sometimes be short-tempered and difficult. We can cope with him but we do not think it is either wise or sensible of him to pick on a group of people who cannot answer back and don't even work for him anyway.

"We welcome his apology even it is, like the system he is charge of, running a little late."

Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said: "Sir Peter Hendy's expletive-driven comments were clearly a cynical attempt to drag commuter services into the TfL operation at a time when his own cuts programme has reduced the Tube services he is responsible for to chaos on a regular basis.

"Train crew staff were also disgusted that Sir Peter Hendy described them as 'Gestapo'. We are still waiting for an apology for that outrageous slur.

"The fact is that it is privatisation and profiteering that has wrecked our train services and the transport commissioner should recognise that hard truth before he resorts to chucking insults at RMT members."

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