Ian Payne is Leading Britain's Conversation.
14 December 2016, 11:22
This is the Southern Rail conductor who Nick Ferrari called "the most intelligent, rational man" who he has spoken to about the train strikes that are disrupting the lives of half a million commuters.
Many people - including Nick Ferrari - have been very critical about the strikes that have forced the Southern Rail network to grind to a halt.
But John Chew, who has been a conductor for 17 years, gave Nick pause for thought as he perfectly explained why it is so important for train doors to be operated by a guard rather than the driver.
John told Nick that he is leaving his job, rather than take on the role of On-Board Supervisor (OBS), stating: "I didn't think I had a choice.
"If I was in a position where I took an OBS role and I had been on a train as an OBS going through one of the stations where I used to dispatch trains from as a conductor, if something went wrong at that station and somebody ended up underneath that train, either injured or killed, I would spend the rest of my life thinking 'If I had been dispatching that train, as I used to, would that person be ok?"
He explains why that conductor's role is so important, adding: "An on-board supervisor has nothing to do with dispatch.
"When a conductor is dispatching a train, a conductor is a second pair of eyes, acting in effect as a safety net for a driver.
"When there is an on-board supervisor on the train, they have nothing to do with dispatch, so the driver is on his own checking whether it's safe to go, he doesn't have a safety net."
Nick asked why a third of services that run successfully as driver-operated trains, but John explains: "Driver-only operation was established when a) there were a lot less people travelling on the trains and b) most of the trains were four and eight car. Now Southern are saying that this needs to be implemented with 12-car trains through very busy stations. It's an entirely different set of circumstances."
Nick responded: "I wish people were as rational as you who are involved in this.
"You are the most intelligent person I've spoken to with regards to management and unions for this entire conflict. I wish you well and I hope there's a resolution."
Watch the full, fascinating interview below.
Categories: Southern Rail Strikes