More proof Southern's still a total basket case after timetable changes

Lynsey Barber
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Beleaguered Southern Rail Users Face More Misery As Five Day Strike Begins
Southern Rail has been beset by problems in recent weeks (Source: Getty)

After a week of travel misery among commuters with strikes on Southern Rail, commuters who feel like they're getting a raw deal will be unsurprised to hear that new figures show the operator continues to be beleaguered by cancellations and delays - despite efforts to improve.

One in five Southern services are still not running on time, just weeks after the operator ditched more than 300 trains in a bid to get the rest of the network running on time.

Read more: Southern Rail is still running its services based on the strike timetable

The revised timetable, which caused outrage among rail users, was introduced in early July to "give the majority of our passengers a better, more consistent service that they can plan around" it said at the time.

But analysis of services in the three weeks after the change by consumer group Which? using data from found 381 of the 1,917 services running during the week were cancelled or delayed, still leaving just 80 per cent of services running on time.

It also found the number of services experiencing prolonged delays longer than a few minutes had jumped by 70 per cent on the same period last year. 63 trains per day were delayed by between 10 and 29 minutes in the three weeks from 11 July 2015, compared with 108 this year.

Compensation for train disruption only goes to passengers delayed by 30 minutes or more. However, in light of the new figures, Which? is calling on the government to compensate passengers suffering shorter persistent delays.

Read more: Southern discomfort: Train service's punctuality plunges to 70 per cent

“The extreme disruption experienced by Southern passengers highlights a summer of discontent. Passengers shouldn’t have to deal with persistent poor service, disruption ‚Äčand inadequate compensation for their journeys. It’s little wonder that trust in the rail ‚Äčindustry is falling, said Which? director of Policy Alex Neil.

“The Government must hold the industry to account by ensuring that passengers complaints are properly heard and where things go wrong they are put right promptly.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday repeated his offer for Transport for London to take over the "failing" Southern franchise. In his second letter in the last month to the transport secretary Chris Grayling, Khan said: "My offer for TfL to get a grip of Southern Rail still stands."

"From day one, I am confident that TfL can deliver a far better service than Southern Rail by immediately assigning an experienced team to fix the service," adding that passengers deserved a better service.

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