Members of Parliament Amber Rudd and Huw Merriman have today welcomed an upturn in Southern Rail’s reliability and punctuality which is now at its highest level in almost two years. The performance figures, known as Passenger Performance Measurements, show that the network managed by Southern Rail is now operating close to regional and London averages. From a low point of 62%, at the height of the industrial action, the last performance period was expected to end this week at 84%, the best figures since July 2015.
Both MPs have used this news to call on Southern to ensure that performance continues to improve after the severe disruption suffered by local communities over the last year, and for the company to reach settlements with the RMT and ASLEF unions.
During the latest performance period, Southern have not suffered from any strikes from the train drivers union ASLEF whilst strikes coordinated by the RMT for second crew members have only impacted a small number of services now that the driver-controlled trains have been rolled out. Southern has this week been holding talks with the unions in a bid to reach a settlement. Previous agreements with ASLEF have been narrowly rejected by its members.
Amber said: “This is a very welcome improvement but Southern should aim for 100% as there is still work to do to get service performance up to the level local people rightly expect.
“There have been far too many periods in the past year when the service experienced by passengers was totally unacceptable. These figures make it clear that it can be in nobody’s interest for industrial action to disrupt our communities as it did last year. I hope that the unions and Southern can conclude talks, reach a deal and build on this positive performance.”
Huw said “I have been clear in my view that, whilst the unions were largely responsible for the performance of last year, Southern needed to demonstrate that they could run a service when industrial action was less impactful. These latest figures are encouraging but there is a long way to go and we will be looking to hold Southern to this performance and further improve.”
The improvements come as the industrial action on Southern reaches its first anniversary.