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ScotRail’s improvement plan spurs PPM turnaround after recent crisis

ScotRail has announced a third consecutive increase in its public performance measure (PPM) figures in a stark improvement over its summer and autumn troubles.

The franchise’s PPM performance for period 10 – the four weeks from 11 December to 7 January including Christmas and Hogmanay – rose to 89.7%, 6% better than the previous four weeks and a 2.8% increase year-on-year.

ScotRail confirmed that its punctuality performance for the last year has risen to 90%, making it the second best performing operator compared with similar large franchises like Northern and GWR.

“These latest figures show that our performance improvement plan is starting to produce results for our customers and we are achieving this in the middle of the biggest upgrade to our railway since Victorian times,” said ScotRail’s managing director Phil Verster.

“We can do more and we can go higher, and every single one of the 7,500 people who work on Scotland’s railway is committed to doing just that.”

ScotRail had faced severe criticism for its punctuality after improvement work led to a dip in performance, leading Transport Scotland to force Scotrail to introduce a performance improvement plan.

The franchise’s problems were compounded by a series of high-profile disruptions in November such as a train breakdown near Edinburgh which led first minister Nicola Sturgeon to apologise during first minister’s questions.

ScotRail said that although three significant disruptive events that took place over the festive period collectively led to a 0.7% reduction in its monthly PPM, the operator’s underlying performance was above 90%.

“The sheer scale of the work we are doing to improve the railway has resulted in more disruption than normal. This means that our customers have had to put up with a lot over the past few months,” Verster said.

“We have done everything we can to keep people moving during this unprecedented period. I hope our customers can take some encouragement from the continued improvement.”

Despite the recent improvement, Abellio’s contract to run ScotRail requires a 91.3% punctuality rate, leaving the company with more work to do.

During period 10, ScotRail handled 6.7 million passenger journeys on around 57,000 train services with three of the busiest five days of 2016 falling in December due to the festive season.

PPM for England and Wales for period 10 was 87.1%, with the annual average figure trailing behind Scottish services at 87.4% overall.

(Image c. Andrew Bowden, Flickr)

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Jane Ann Liston   13/01/2017 at 12:41

Have the effects of the extra passengers last year when the Forth Road Bridge was closed been allowed for?

SWB   13/01/2017 at 23:48

This news makes the near-hysterics from many politicians just a couple of months ago seem puerile. Given a fair chance under trying circumstances, ScotRail/Abellio has managed a fairly impressive performance improvement. With an average that is already better than rail services south of the border, just a bit more improvement will see their contractual obligations fulfilled. Hopefully this will quiet the drumbeat toward re-nationalisation.

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