An MP has called for Croydon’s main rail operator to be immediately stripped of its franchises to end to commuters’ “misery”.

Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, urged for plans for Transport for London (TfL) to take over routes run by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which owns Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern, be brought forward from the proposed date of 2021.

In January 20 MPs met with Rail Minister Claire Perry to demand a better service from the company, which voted as one of the worst services in the country in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey.

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According to MPs who attended the meeting only 78 per cent of Southern’s trains arrive at their final destination on time, with the figure dropping to one in five in December.

On December 15 last year only 44 per cent of Southern’s services arrived within five minutes their scheduled arrival time.

Following the meeting the company committed to employing more drivers and upgrading carriages to prevent breakdowns and said it was working with Network Rail to improve punctuality.

At the time Mr Philp said he would call for the company to lose its franchise “should no improvement be clearly visible by the summer”.

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Speaking today he said: “GTR offer the worst service in the country, and it is getting worse.

“My constituents lives are being made a misery by the continual cancellations, lateness, station skipping and over-crowding.

“This franchise is too big and unmanageable, and is being very badly run at present. I am therefore calling for the franchise to be removed from GTR immediately and broken up in to smaller franchises.”

He added: “The suburban commuter lines, including the lines from Croydon to Victoria, are due to be moved under the jurisdiction of TfL by 2021. This needs to be done immediately.”

He said TfL could be “trusted” to run the service effectively, adding: “It is time to end the Southern misery now. We need more drivers, a better managed and motivated workforce, better communication with passengers, longer trains, more declassification of first class when trains are over-crowded and automatic compensation for lateness for Oyster card users.

“Longer term, more investment is needed in track and infrastructure upgrades.”

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A Southern spokesman said: “We fully accept that our performance is not good at the moment, and we apologise to our passengers for this.

“Having said that, we are working very closely with Network Rail on improving our performance. We are also working extremely hard on improving on things where we have a direct influence on performance.

"In the last month, we have had to cancel over 1,000 train services due to the non-availability of conductors through an unusually high level of sickness.

“While this is a situation not in our control, we do apologise for the inevitable inconvenience this is causing.”

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The company has come under fire from RMT, the rail union, in recent weeks for planned changes to the role of Southern conductors, which the union says could leave some workers without a job.

GTR plans to change the conductor role to a supervisor role, moving the job of opening and closing doors to drivers.

The company claims this change means staff will be more visible but the RMT believes there are safety risks.

Today GTR took the unusual step on publishing conductor sickness figures in the midst of talks with the union to defend its poor punctuality record.

In the past month conductors have called in sick 1,066 times, with an average of 40 conductors off sick every day – more than double the average of 23 in the two weeks prior to the first strike in April.

An average of 83 Southern services are cancelled each day due to conductor sickness.