A NEW campaigning group set up to challenge the Department for Transport's handling of the long-running industrial dispute at Southern has raised almost half the funding it needs to launch a Judicial Review.
The fund, which was launched by the Association of British Commuters only a few days ago, reached its initial target of £10,000 yesterday and has since gained another £2,000, meaning that the ABC is nearly half way towards its second target of £25,000.
Its supporters want a review of how the government has managed the disruptive dispute over extensions of driver-only operation on Southern routes. After several months of industrial action and repeated but unsuccessful negotiations with the RMT, Southern began to make the hotly-disputed changeover on 21 August.
The news that the first stage of a Judicial Review is rapidly gaining support has come as RMT conductors on Southern stage another two-day strike this week.
Southern said the walkouts -- yesterday and today --- have reduced services on most routes, and some lines have no trains at all.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash claimed that his members' support for today's strike was 'rock solid'. He added: "Our message that rail safety and access to transport services has to be put before the profits of Govia Thameslink is ringing out loud and clear.
"The union thanks the travelling public for their understanding and support as we stand up against this failing and greedy rail operator in defence of the safety of passengers and staff alike.
"Southern is a train operator that has chosen to declare war on both farepayers and the workforce. Our message to rail users across the Southern network is clear -- our fight is your fight."
Passengers have already held public protests at Brighton and London Victoria.
Emily Yates, one of the founders of the Association of British Commuters, said: “The sense of camaraderie and the sense of community spirit is the one positive that has come out of this crisis. Sharing our experiences, our research, our money, emotionally supporting each other on social media and venting our frustration. It’s not just a crowdfunder, it’s crowd action.”