Talks between Brighton & Hove City Council & Govia Thameslink Railway have been called off after GTR confirm their refusal to run a train service to Brighton on Pride Saturday.
Council Leader Bella Sankey has today expressed her extreme disappointment as talks between Brighton & Hove City Council and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) broke down as GTR confirmed their decision not to run any trains in and out of the city this Saturday.
The council convened an emergency meeting with GTR and emergency services partners on Wednesday 2 August 2023 to discuss a compromise solution which would ensure that some trains would run in and out of the city for most of Saturday 5 August.
A further meeting was scheduled for Thursday 3 August but called off, when GTR confirmed to the council, Pride and others late on 2 August that they were sticking to their original decision.
With Brighton & Hove’s annual Pride celebrations going ahead this weekend, Councillor Sankey says the decision will effectively leave the city cut-off and anger thousands of people.
Councillor Sankey said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision from GTR that will negatively impact all those wanting to participate in the country’s foremost Pride celebrations.
“In spite of our best efforts to work with GTR to find a creative solution, they’ve instead decided to maintain their position of running no trains, effectively cutting off the city. This has knock-on consequences for traffic congestion and risks leaving people stranded.
“In my view, and based on the data provided by Pride organisers, a workable and safe solution could have been found by a company tasked with providing an essential public service to our city.
“GTR have failed in their most basic function as a train company and they have also mismanaged the process.
“The impact on the public of this failure to provide a service seems to come very far down the list of what is important to GTR. They must now reflect and ensure this unacceptable situation never happens again.
“Our priority now is now to work with our excellent emergency services and all those involved in facilitating Pride to support the event and seek to address the many issues and increased costs GTR’s flawed decision raises.
“Pride will go ahead this weekend and it’ll be as spectacular as ever. We hope those who can attend enjoy celebrating our LGBTQI+ community and have a wonderful weekend in our city.”