Search

‘Our service levels haven’t been good enough’ admits chief behind Southern Rail as owners receive £13.4million government fine

PUBLISHED: 09:40 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 13 July 2017

Southern Rail

Southern Rail

Archant

The fine was issued on Wednesday

The company behind strike-hit Southern Rail has been handed a £13.4million fine over the poor quality of its services, with the CEO admitting “service levels haven’t been good enough”.

Govia Thameslink Railway had applied for a ‘force majeure’ to the government, to pin ongoing strike action from the RMT and Aslef unions as the reason for a drop in the quality of service.

In law, a force majeure is when a claimant will cite unforeseeable circumstances as the reason for not fulfilling a contract.

But in a letter to the company’s CEO, Charles Horton, transport Chris Grayling said industrial action: “does not fully explain the poor service that passengers received,” between September 2015 to September 2016.

Southern currently provides Metro services in and around Beckenham as well as running trains from Ashford International and Tonbridge, has been dealing with strike action over the possible introduction of driver-only trains for more than a year.

Mr Grayling said “passengers who depend on Southern have been badly let down” but accepted in his letter: “Performance on Southern has improved dramatically since Christmas, as the disruption from union activity has decreased. But that performance is still not good enough.”

The MP explained where he expected the multi-million-pound package to be spent, with £7million to be put into a Department for Transport fund for “projects and improvements that will directly benefit passengers”, £4million to employ 50 on-board supervisors over the next two years and the remaining £2.4million on improvements to Southern’s performance.

Mr Horton said: “We run the most congested network in the UK where passenger journeys have doubled in the last twelve years.

“This has meant we have been running services for more and more passengers while also allowing stations to be rebuilt, platforms extended, track and signalling replaced and new trains and technology introduced too.”

“The impact on the network of such extensive work was underestimated, but as the recently-published Gibb Report makes clear the most significant factor affecting Southern’s service levels has been industrial action caused by the trade unions.

“GTR looks forward to continuing to roll out one of the biggest modernisation programmes the railway has seen and which will transform four networks and improve capacity. The programme has necessitated a modernisation of infrastructure, trains, technology and working practices. Results are now starting to show and performance has improved consistently for six months.

Latest news

Yesterday, 15:07

Five men who were arrested on Tuesday, May 22 as part of a dawn raid carried out by officers in Bromley have been charged with burglary and theft offences.

Thu, 14:57

A man has today, Thursday, May 24, been arrested in connection with the death of Sophie Cavanagh from Bromley.

Thu, 11:00

Bromley twins from Cobham Hall Independent School have created their very own escape room in the school’s dungeon, which was described by a member of staff as “the best I’ve done.”

Wed, 16:59

Detectives have launched a murder investigation after the death of a woman who was discovered in a flat in Bromley was deemed suspicious.

Wed, 07:00

The council is offering a £500 reward for information about an abandoned 40ft articulated trailer which was discovered full of dumped rubbish.

Tue, 14:41

To mark the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War, Bromley’s Burnt Ash Drama Association will be showing three performances of David Haig’s My Boy Jack, based on the true story by Rudyard Kipling.

Most read

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bromley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bromley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder