11 November 2014

Thank you Southeastern

Looking back at my last post about this, I’d like to set one thing straight:

  • The response from Southeastern MD, David Statham, about this when I tackled him on what was actually published, was clear, and transparent. They made a mistake, and they corrected it in the published version. Instead of posting up targets it was past data.

I guess they could have handled this better by making a note on the brochure to explain this, rather than commuters seeing this as yet another smokescreen, or lie.

In David’s response, he also provided me with the actual PPM targets for the next 6 months, by line of route.

Data. Transparent. Honest. This is all I (and a lot of other commuters) have been trying to get in the past 2 months, and I got it! At last.

Should I just post it?

I thought about it, though other parts of the email made me realise there’s a chance that Southeastern and David would like to continue to engage in conversation with me, so, I held off until I had time to respond and ask if it was ok.

Nearly a week after receiving the data, I got round to asking that question, and the next day was given the OK.

So…here we go!

Dartford and overall PPM

I wanted to get this data out asap, so I’ll just focus on Dartford, since these are the routes I travel on daily.

Suffice to say, the numbers don’t look good for Claire Perry’s claim of ‘tough’ targets for Southeastern.

Remember, the original franchise document expected a 93.4% PPM over the 12 months to the end of March 2014

So here they are in image form:

Past 6 months:

Past 6 months

Next 6 months:

Next 6 months

And in perspective, the same 6 months last year:

2013 performance

CSV data for table 1 and table 2 can be downloaded

NOTE: The left hand column is as is (as is all of the data apart from the averages) - I assume it should be ‘London - Charing Cross…’ rather than ‘London - Charlton…’

What does this mean?

Quite simply this: The ‘tough performance targets’ set out by this Government to explain away gifting 4 more years to Govia to continue running the line that they have shown they have been incapable of doing, was yet another Tory lie.

The difference in the targets for the next 6 months vary by around 5% on average compared to the previous 6 months.

Even taking into account the same 6 months the previous year, the new targets are lower.

And remember this line from the recent Investor Event by Go-Ahead:

Go-Ahead - Southeastern

The last line suggests any London Bridge disruption wouldn’t affect them - do these PPM targets reflect this? On top of the already modified timetable that Southeastern have been slow to publish in its final form.

What can I conclude?

We have been lied to again by this Government.

We do not have tougher targets for this renewed franchise.

We have business as usual. With the odds stacked more in favour of the train operator, than the fare paying commuter. The same commuter that is paying tax to fund the DfT subsidy that is in place for the duration of the contract.

We have seen yet more inaction by the Government. Forced into this by their failure to handle the West Coast mainline franchise contest.

And this can only explain why the DfT have been so resistant to publishing these figures, and why Rail Minister Claire Perry hasn’t responded to any questions on this franchise, past the few simple ones she covered on the day the renewal was announced.

Over the next 6 months, Dartford commuters can expect 35 of their journeys to be delayed by over 5 minutes. And unless that gets to 30 minutes, the best we can get is a human apology, but most likely an automated or prerecorded apology, which means as much as Claire Perry’s letter to commuters on September 11th this year.

One positive

Southeastern are engaging in clear, meaningful, conversation with me on this issue.

I still have more points to raise that I couldn’t on the BBC Radio Kent trains day, and I will be sending David and his team a long email soon.

The communication with Southeastern since my appearance on the radio is starting to be positive, and they have put forward some suggestions to me, which I’m now actively following up.

I will, as always, endeavour to pass on information as I get it.



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Related links


Southeastern Railway Action Group
Dartford Rail Travellers' Association
Dartford Rail Travellers Association (Facebook)
Dartford Rail Travellers Association (Twitter)