21 April 2016 | Phil Rogers

I want to start this post by thanking Mike Pellatt for suggesting the approach taken for the follow-up FOI request about performance data.

It was successful, and I’m writing up my initial thoughts after just realising the FOI was responded to.

Background

The post about the DfT’s refusal to provide performance stats is here

And Southeastern’s MD David Statham confirmed when we met him that he also denied the publication of this data citing commercial reasons

The new FOI request

Mike suggested that I find out which data is provisional and which is full - that would cover 6 out of the 10 public interest reasons for why the Department for Transport wouldn’t release the data.

I was ready to tackle the other 4 points.

I didn’t have to.

As a result of the new request, the FOI has published the full performance data for Southeastern up to Period 10 (9th January)

The full response can be found here - lower numbers are better

[Updated with screenshots]

The data comes in three parts, which I’ll briefly cover:

For each table, ‘Default’ looks to be the standard performance requirement, where ‘Breach’ is where Southeastern would breach if they went above that number.

‘Benchmark’ is the result calculated according to the franchise document - an odd use of the ‘benchmark’ term.

Cancellations

This table shows that Southeastern are easily meeting their cancellations requirement - i.e. have been consistently around 0.1% below their Breach requirement. A full cancellation is counted as 1 when calculating stats, partial cancellation as 0.5 (so the skip-stops are accounted for in this data)

Table 1 Cancellations data

Capacity

This table shows that Southeastern again are easily meeting their capacity requirement - this covers that Southeastern have put on during peak. Interestingly this doesn’t count services that were caught up in a ‘Service Recovery Plan’ (thanks Sevenoaks RTA!) which does need some further investigation.

But again, they’re clearly within their targets - remember, lower is better.

Table 2 Capacity data

Delay minutes

This table shows the number of minutes delay per 1000 train miles…again, clearly within the ‘Breach’ target:

Table 3 Delay minutes data

So what has been in the public view?

This data, which I posted on social media earlier in the week, again, these are screenshots which I’ll convert later:

2014-15:

Table 4 2014 data

2015-16:

Table 5 2014 data

It’s clear to all that performance has degraded since the new direct award franchise was awarded. The tables show the difference between the target PPM and reported PPM.

What were we promised?

I’m copying this from the previous article I wrote:

Remember what the DfT/Claire Perry said on 11 September 2014 when the direct franchise award was given to Southeastern?

Tough targets and £70 million investment to ensure major improvements under new South Eastern franchise deal.

We’ve seen those tough targets in the franchise doc, but without the actual results we can’t see how ‘tough’ they in context…

I recognise that LSER has not always met the expectations of passengers and so this agreement contains rigorous satisfaction and performance targets, with financial penalties if they are not met. I am determined that this contract will ensure an improvement for passengers on the franchise.

We aren’t seeing an improvement. PPM is consistently below target - is this reflected in the ‘tough targets’ that Southeastern are being measured against?

Oh and also the letter Claire Perry wrote us:

With a new Managing Director in place to lead the company forward; a commitment to building a long term relationship with you, their customers based on trust; financial penalties payable to the Department for poor performance; and a very clear, frequent and transparent level of reporting on how much progress is being made; I am confident that the improvements you need will be delivered.

What do we actually have?

Consistently bad performance.

The reported PPM (by Southeastern) being typically lower than the target PPM

People complaining on twitter about delayed trains.

Stops being missed.

How does this match up against the DfT’s ‘tough targets’

Southeastern have met them all.

Typically enough under the ‘breach’ level to show they’re performing well.#

But wait, what’s going on you may ask?

Indeed: what is going on?

Tough targets?

I don’t think so, and when you look at the data you won’t think so too.

We were lead to believe that Southeastern will be subject to penalties if they don’t meet those targets.

And for all intents and purposes, looking at their reported PPM results, they haven’t.

But given the data that the DfT have provided, Southeastern haven’t been subject to any penalties, they’ve easily met the ‘tough targets’…whilst not meeting their PPM targets.

How is this even possible?

It’s all a sham

Everything that Claire Perry has promised us means absolutely nothing. Southeastern were handed the franchise extension on a silver platter, and told to just get on with it.

We, the passengers, were under some misguided belief that behind the scenes the DfT were making sure that these ‘tough targets’ were being met.

But of course the DfT won’t have been doing anything - the targets have been met.

And I guess this is the ‘commercial’ reason that Southeastern didn’t want the data out there - it would show that anyone can run a rail franchise badly and get away with it.

And they have done.

With Claire Perry and the Department for Transport’s blessing.

What next?

Over the coming few days I’ll be writing an open letter to Claire Perry about this - and my MP.

You can then use the templated letter to get your MP to question how the rail users in South East England could have got such a raw deal

Updates

The thoughts writte are from the first 30 minutes of considering the data - I will review it in more detail later, and may edit my thoughts - these edits will be made clear, in the interests of transparency.


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26 April 2016 | Template Letter for your MP


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