Southeastern's punctuality figures get cross-examined

The BBC reports that Sheffield University will scrutinise Southeastern's punctuality figures for 2010, which came in a fraction over the threshold at which the company would have to offer season ticket holders a discount.

Southeastern reported punctuality figures of a woeful 82.04%, 0.04% above the penalty level. The score takes in to account the performance of the under-used and brand-new high speed rail service they operate, which Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark says is inappropriate in any case, since it distorts the true picture for most commuters.


Lou Baker said...

The figures should be broken down by route.

There is no way on God's earth they've run 82.04% of trains on the Crofton Park / Nunhead / Blackfriars route on time.

They didn't even bloody well bother running the trains for most of December - let alone running them on time.

If South Eastern are found to be lying they should be stripped of their franchise and the people in charge should be arrested for fraud.

darryl said...

The disputed 82.04% stat only refers to mainline services to deepest Kent - SE London is judged on stats for metro services, so whatever happens, nobody this side of the M25 will get a refund.

Ramble said...

They don't count cancelled trains as delayed!!

Foxberry Mike said...

Southeastern make Southern look like a beacon of excellence, which is odd given they are part of the same company group.
However even our 7 or 8 minute journey to London Bridge could take up to 19 minutes before it counts against Southern in their punctuality statistics (the down journey is typically timetabled at 8 minutes, up to 6 extra minutes are allowed in the timetable for the same journey in reverse to allow for congestion at London Bridge, and then they can be 5 minutes late on top of that). For most of us any journey taking over twice as long as it should would seem to be unpunctual and yet it would not even register in the figures.
My main concern however is that lately I have started to agree with some of Lou's comments!

Headhunter said...

What is it about this little corner of SE London? When I lived in Catford and before I gave up on cr@ppy trains and started to cycle, those routes were run by Connex. They were an utter shower too and lost their franchise. My bet is that although Connex lost its franchise that essentially everything remained in place from tracks and trains to personnel and the whole kit and kaboodle simply adopted a new name "South Eastern" and so the cr@p remained...

Marc said...

I think our area (SE London) suffers more then the others in snowy conditions due to the third rail infrastructure, a technology dating back to the 1920-30s.

Maybe we will see some real investment now that the commuters are forced to pay more. Unlikely tho.

Barbara said...

All those Overground posters boasting of how many services ran on time drive me crazy too - as they clearly don't count all the times trains are simply cancelled. Can't help feeling that the emphasis on punctuality targets means that train companies end up cancelling trains instead of just running them late, so as to avoid penalty. Would certainly explain endless late-night Overground cancellations that mean I don't even try to use it after 11 any more.

Tamsin said...

Like with the schools closing unecessarily during snowy weather - if you shut the school it does not count against you in the Ofsted stats. If you keep it open and a third of the children can't get in you have all those "unauthorised absences" and no means of explaining them. Therefore, to hell with the example you give - just shut down and keep the figures looking good.

Stupid target and "measured outcome" driven culture that we live in now.

Anonymous said...

Yep,you dont get no thanks for trying to keep things running.

Lou Baker said...

Train punctuality targets are a joke.

A train is considered to be 'on time' even if it's 10 mins late.

Moreover train companies can declare 'void days' when things are really bad.

Anyone else here allowed to declare a 'void day' at

Still we mustn't tarnish them all with the same brush.

Chiltern and c2c are both really rather good.

South Eastern, Southern and First Capital
Connect - between them responsible for nearly all of our services - are not.

Ed said...

I hate to suggest tighter regulation but these claims are a joke, especially when the delay period used is the same as or longer than the interval and/or journey time [I'm thinking of the ELL claims in particular].

Danja said...

Myth, Tamsin:

Tamsin said...

Given that I was at one remove from the horse's mouth when I heard this in December I should probably have been less dogmatic - but only partial myth. From the site referred to "This does mean that the absence percentage for a school that stays open may be higher than if it had closed if significant numbers of pupils are unable to attend." Depends on how twitchy the head-teachers are about such things and whether they want an excuse to close, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

When arriving this morning on the 'delayed' train at Charing Cross there were a collecting of 'clickers' who seemmed to be counting people.

Infront of the indicators at paltforms 5 & 6 were another set of people but they seemed to be concentrating on the train indicators and making notes on what was being displayed.

With tweets etc we collectively could log train times?

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