Response to National Audit Office report on the Govia Thameslink (GTR) franchise

10 January 2018

Responding to the publication of the National Audit Office report on the Govia Thameslink (GTR) franchise, London TravelWatch Chief Executive, Janet Cooke said:

'The contents of today’s report will not come as a surprise to anyone who has had to use the services provided by the UK’s largest train franchise over the last few years. The report reiterates the concerns we have been raising for some time now - that passengers deserve better and that the cancellations and delays; overcrowding and disruption they have been facing for over two years now is unacceptable.

The report flags up the issue of staff shortages – this was something we first raised with Ministers in December 2014. And we have also previously expressed concern about the perverse situation which means that the penalties are actually less if train services are actually cancelled rather than being delayed or amended.

While it is true that relations between the management and unions seem to have improved in recent months, many real concerns about service standards remain. We hope that the operator will act on these latest findings to ensure that 2018 is a better year for passengers using GTR services. In the longer term, there is a real need for the Department for Transport to focus on lessons that need to be learned and applied when designing rail franchises. Passengers should not be used as ‘Guinea pigs’ in this way again to force through new ways of working.’

Further information

  1. 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.
  2. Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and You Tube.
  3. For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 3176 5941 or 07734 055494.
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