18 September 2014

New Direct Award

This was announced on 11th September by the Government

Despite many requests from myself and other users of Twitter, neither the MP in charge, or representatives of Southeastern were able to answer questions on the new performance targets.

I have a Freedom Of Information request in place which should respond in the next 3 weeks, but took the opportunity to quiz the managers today at the Meet the Manager session in Charing Cross station

Southeastern’s revised ‘tough performance targets’

I got lucky. The manager I encountered was Rene Tym - Network Rail’s South East Route Performance Manager. I didn’t realise who I was talking to until the question came out:

“What are the new tough performance measures for the Directly Awarded Franchise?”

What followed was particularly interesting:

“As group performance manager, I should know what they are…we’re aiming for over 90% of those trains [to arrive within 5 mins]”

After confirming it was 90% across the whole network, I asked if this included HS1 since that was an easier line to perform on.

“There are more challenging targets, and we’re aiming for over 94% on HS1”

What does this mean?

Well, if the Network Rail rep got it right, the ‘tough performance targets’ are weaker than what is already in place.

And you’d expect Network Rail to know a target, since they have to work with Southeastern to meet them.

The current targets are linked here

Since the year ending March 2009 the PPM target (trains arriving within 5 minutes of their advertised time) has been over 90%.

Actual performance for the 12 months to 16 August 2014 has been 87.9% (Source) - so I guess 90% is an improvement on the underperformance of the franchisee…

So it’s not tougher?

No, it’s not. Not from the response I got today. It’s actually weaker, and gives Southeastern and Network Rail an easier ride than the current franchise.

I didn’t realise at the time that Rene Tym wasn’t a Southeastern employee (well lucky really, since Southeastern employees aren’t aware of the new target, see above) - though this was a Southeastern organised session, so I would expect them to be aware of the new franchise.

What next?

There’s a FOI that has 3 weeks remaining for an answer from DfT which I’ll post up here once it’s received.

If the response doesn’t match with Network Rail’s response then it shows that none of the three organisations involved with the running of train services in SE London and Kent are aware of what they are meant to be doing.

If it does match, then I will follow up with the DfT as to why they feel that this ‘fresh start’ for the South Eastern franchise is a good deal for commuters.


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Related links

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