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05.07.16

TOCs experience severe drop in PPM for June 2016

June 2016 was one of the worst months so far for British rail, with the national performance and punctuality measure (PPM) declining by nearly 5% and Govia Thameslink, First Hull and Grand Central all facing significant performance issues.

New figures from Network Rail show that national PPM between 29 May and 25 June was at 86.5%, compared to 91.3% at the same point last year.

Furthermore, all TOCs experienced a decline in PPM apart from three – Abellio Greater Anglia with a 0.3% increase, London Midland with a 1% increase and London Overground with a 1.2% increase.

In contrast, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), First Hull and Grand Central suffered the lowest PPM figures overall and the biggest decline from last year.

GTR’s PPM decreased by 19.5% to 66.8%, Grand Central’s by 14.4% to 77.7% and First Hull’s by 13.8% to 78.8%.

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They were also the companies with the biggest increases in the number of journeys cancelled or significantly late. GTR’s rate increased by 11.5% to 15.7%, First Hull’s by 11.9% to 12.1%, and Grand Central’s by 7.9% to 9.7%.

Every single TOC had an increase in cancellation and significant lateness (CaSL) apart from Virgin East Coast, where the rate decreased by 1.4%, and London Midland and London Overground, where it remained fixed.

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The figures also show that 49% of GTR delays were attributed to Network Rail, but 49% were attributed to the operator itself. Grand Central and First Hull had higher rates of delays attributed to Network Rail, at 76% and 77% respectively.

More problems for GTR as CEO to appear before MPs

It is the second month in a row GTR has been the company with the biggest PPM drop, after its PPM reached 78.1% in May.

The company has suffered widespread cancellations and delays due to problems including the upgrades at London Bridge and conductors’ strikes on Southern, which it owns.

Southern tied with Southeastern for the lowest passenger satisfaction rating in the latest survey from Transport Focus.

RMT has called for GTR to be removed from Southern and Campaign for Better Transport has called for the government to intervene, questioning whether operating the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern franchises, all of which are under GTR’s control, is too much work for one company.

GTR published a new temporary timetable today revealing that it is cancelling 341 trains a day on Southern to try to reduce the impact of unpredictable strikes.

Dyan Crowther, the chief operating officer, is appearing before the Transport Select Committee this morning to give evidence on the ongoing Southern disruptions.

First Hull says figures aren’t ‘truly representative’

A Hull Trains spokesperson told RTM that the figures weren’t “truly representative” of the company’s performance, adding that small companies shouldn’t be measured in the same league as large ones because they run fewer services, so any delay has a larger impact on their numbers.

“The policy at Hull Trains is to run services to satisfy customers – not to satisfy  PPM,” they said. “In some cases, if a service is cancelled it would reflect better within the punctuality league than if it is late or delayed. Hull Trains policy is to always run the service. What this means is that to keep people connected to the region, we don't terminate short, we keep services running.”

The ORR recently revealed that national PPM in 2015-16 was 89.1%, the worst in a decade.

Network Rail’s annual report, published yesterday, also shows that it failed to meet key targets on performance and customer satisfaction.

(Image c. Rui Vieira from PA Wire)

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