MP slams Mayor of London over tube strikes affecting Aylesbury commuters

The MP called last week's cancellations 'totally unacceptable'
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An MP has scalded the Mayor of London after four days of tube strikes led to cancellations and changes to Aylesbury commuter trains.

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler called the impact of strikes from Tuesday to Friday (March 2-5), 'totally unacceptable'.

On Tuesday no direct services were available between Aylesbury and London Marylebone via Amersham due to a lack of staff.

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler at London Marylebone station for unveiling of new hybrid train last monthAylesbury MP Rob Butler at London Marylebone station for unveiling of new hybrid train last month
Aylesbury MP Rob Butler at London Marylebone station for unveiling of new hybrid train last month
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Mr Butler said: “It is totally unacceptable that Aylesbury residents and commuters are suffering because of a tube strike in London.

“This is yet another example of appalling industrial relations at Transport for London (TfL) under the Mayor of London: Sadiq Khan is not just damaging the capital city but also

Buckinghamshire’s county town.

Chiltern Railways trainsChiltern Railways trains
Chiltern Railways trains

“It has been an extraordinarily tough period for local residents and businesses, and the last thing they need now is a damaging strike that prevents Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville and Wendover residents’ ability to go about their lives and earn their livelihoods.”

The Mayor of London's office highlighted that during Mr Khan's time running London, t the number of days lost to strikes has fallen from 32,212 days to 7,010.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “The Mayor took a firm hold of TfL’s finances when he took office, reducing the TfL deficit he inherited by 71 per cent, increasing the cash balance by 13 per cent, cutting running costs year on year and reducing headcount.

"He was on track to reach a net operating surplus whilst also making transport more affordable for millions of Londoners. The pandemic is the sole reason for TfL’s current financial crisis, and the amount of money it needs to keep services running pales into insignificance compared to the huge economic contribution it makes to London and the whole country.

"It is simply a fact that TfL receives vastly less national government support than other rail operators around the country, benefitting from no government grant, which was given away by the previous Mayor.

"TfL now has to rely on fares for 72% of its income - meaning its finances were decimated by the huge drop in ridership as a result of the pandemic."

The Amersham to Marylebone line is owned and operated by the TfL meaning signal issues were out of Chiltern Railways' control.

A Chiltern Railways spokesman said: “Chiltern Railways has continued to operate our services to keep customers on the move during the industrial action by London Underground staff. We were unable to operate our trains between Amersham and London Marylebone because the route is controlled and signalled by London Underground.

"Services from Aylesbury via Princes Risborough were strengthened and we operated a shuttle service to our stations north of Amersham.”

Aylesbury's MP remains unconvinced by the mayor's handling of the situation, he added: “The Government has provided TfL and the Mayor of London a series of substantial bailouts to the tune of almost £5 billion.

"Sadiq Khan must solve this crisis quickly, and can’t expect to get yet another handout from general taxation, paid for by residents in Aylesbury and beyond.

"His mismanagement over the past six years is to blame and he must immediately grasp the nettle and modernise the tube system.

“I would like to thank Chiltern Railways for their efforts to keep Aylesbury connected for residents and businesses by putting on additional services via Princes Risborough.”