New survey shows commuters being misled over train punctuality figures

Pam Mills

RAIL firms including Southeastern have been accused of publishing misleading statistics on the punctuality of their services.

An investigation by The Sunday Times found that the companies were using an inaccurate method for recording whether trains were on time.

The Public Performance Measure [PPM] allows Southeastern to claim that just under 10 per cent of their London to Hastings services from June 25 to July 22 were late or cancelled.

But this masks delays at individual stops as PPM only takes the arrival time at the final destination into account and allows for the service to be five or ten minutes late, depending on the length of the journey.

The newspaper obtained Network Rail’s running data which is derived from its signalling system to analyse the real time performance of the rail companies, at every stop during the week of July 21-27.

Their statistics found that in fact 32 per cent of Southeastern’s services arrived late or were cancelled and that 1 per cent faced at least a 60 minute delay.

Although it fared much better than the worst offender – Hull Trains – who had two-thirds of their services arriving late or cancelled.
Under pressure from disgruntled commuters the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train companies, announced in July that they would begin to publish statistics on a minute-by-minute, stop-by-stop basis.

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