Grant Shapps: new ‘On Time’ statistics will stop masking whether trains are really on time

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has welcomed a new measure of train performance as “a step in the right direction” to increase accountability and transparency for passengers, calling for urgent action to get trains running on time.

Published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) at 9:30am today (Thursday 19 September 2019), new ‘On Time’ statistics will establish an industry standard for measuring performance in which train punctuality is measured to the minute not the traditional 5 or 10 minutes of the timetabled arrival.

With data covering the performance of operators across the country for the past 3 months, the publication will provide the clearest picture to date on the punctuality of the country’s rail services.

The Transport Secretary has set out that punctuality of services is his major priority. Last week, he met with train bosses at several operating companies and rail industry leaders to discuss the pressing need for concrete action to improve punctuality and reliability.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the ORR statistics, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “Commuters just want their trains to run on time and that’s my first priority. New statistics published today will stop masking whether trains are really on time.

“I believe this is a step in the right direction, providing more accountability and transparency to help hold operators to account, but much more needs to be done to get performance to where it should be.

“Last week I met with the heads of rail companies and industry leaders where I set out the pressing need for concrete action to deliver improvements in the short, medium and long term. What was clear was the joint passion and drive of both government and rail industry to create a railway where the focus was on every minute for passengers.

“This won’t be instant but the Williams Review, published this autumn, has the right ideas: clearer accountability, greater local control focused on passengers and performance.”

Detailed information on the causes of train delays is also included in this publication for the first time, providing greater accountability into the problems on the railway.

The previous industry measure – Public Performance Measure (PPM) – defined a train as on time if it arrives within five minutes of the planned destination arrival time, or 10 minutes for long distance operators. The new data will measure on time to within 60 seconds.

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