Southern’s £13.4m fine for performance is not enough- passengers need urgent action to improve performance

13 July 2017

London’s independent passenger watchdog has warned that the Government’s decision to fine Southern Rail £13.4m for poor performance will need to be backed up by urgent action to improve the service for long suffering passengers.

Stephen Locke, Chair of London TravelWatch said: ‘We are pleased to see this recognition by the Government of the appalling service Southern passengers have endured over the past year or so. But what matters now is that all the parties concerned - the Department for Transport and Network Rail as well as Southern and GTR - work together to achieve a radical improvement in performance. The Government has promised that the £13m fine will be used to improve services, which is welcome. But it is also essential that the many recommendations produced by Chris Gibb, after a detailed analysis of Southern's woes, are properly followed up and acted upon. Southern passengers have had enough, and are desperate for a sign that better times are coming.’

The Gibb report highlighted problems with Southern’s commercial strategy, with a complex fares structure which is not making the best use of train capacity, resulting in worse overcrowding and delays. It also picked up on continuing staff shortages, something we first raised with Ministers in December 2014.

Passengers who have found that on some days in recent weeks as many as one in four train services have been cancelled will be astonished to learn that the terms of the Southern franchise mean that the penalties are actually less if train services are actually cancelled rather than being delayed or amended. This is another issue mentioned in the Gibb report which London TravelWatch has also voiced concern about.


Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the operating name for the London Transport Users Committee. We are the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  • Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and You Tube.
  • For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 3176 5941 or 07734 055494.
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