Council Leader, Bella Sankey, and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London have written a joint letter to GTR expressing their concern over plans to not run trains during Pride on Saturday 5 August.
In the letter they call on GTR to work with all partners to ensure a safe and successful Brighton & Hove Pride and maintain connectivity between the two cities.
We are extremely concerned to hear that GTR is considering running no trains between London and Brighton on Saturday 5 August 2023.
As you are aware, this is the weekend of Brighton & Hove Pride, one of the biggest and significant events in the city and one of the most historic Prides in the country. Every year people travel from all over the country to attend this celebration, including an estimated 100,000 by train, many of whom alight your service in London.
Any possibility that GTR would not run any train services into Brighton mainline station from the surrounding region would have a disastrous impact on the safety and success of Pride. It would also deeply undermine your reputation as a company committed to the LGBTQI+ communities.
It is incredibly important that day travellers on Saturday 5 August are able to arrive and leave our cities in a safe, appropriate and managed way. Your trains are an essential part of that and you have a huge responsibility to ensure our cities are not cut-off for one its most important LGBTQI+ events of the year.
GTR will be well-aware of the timing of Pride each year and I would expect your company to have planned ahead, have mitigated possible risks, and put in place suitable provision. I understand that your position is that the service cannot be operated due to ASLEF’s ongoing overtime ban. However, I understand that ASLEF believe the service could still run by making adjustments to staffing rotas.
We are asking that GTR urgently work with ASLEF, and other partners to explore all possible options to ensure the availability of a full schedule of transport to and from our cities on Saturday 5 August.
The council’s and the Mayor’s support for a safe and successful Pride in Brighton and to the LGTBQI+ communities in both our cities is unwavering and we want to see that you are doing everything possible in support of this event.
Sadiq Khan Councillor Bella Sankey
Mayor of London Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council