Can Govia get Thameslink service back on track?
Regular commuters on the Thameslink line have faced frustrating delays and cancellations since Govia took over the running of the line from First Capital Connect on September 14th.
Govia has released its performance figures and they bear out the public perception that the service has got worse: the Thameslink Public Performance Measure (PPM) for Period 7 (the period since Govia took over) was just 81.10% against a target of 87.36%. Commuters who berated First Capital Connect might like to know that in the same period in both the last two years, the PPM exceeded 90%. PPM is the industry standard performance measure and refers to the percentage of services that reach their final destination on time.
In the train operator’s latest stakeholder newsletter, CEO Charles Horton apologises and admits that his company was to blame for some of the shaky service. “Some of this disruption has been caused by external events which are very difficult for us to control, such as several fatalities. But there have also been delays caused by things which we in the rail industry manage.”
How is Govia planning to address these issues and get the service back on track (and disgruntled West Hampstead commuters to work on time)?
Horton adds that a summit was held last week with the management team to discuss recent poor performance and put in place a plan “to improve performance urgently”. You can see the whole of the chief executive’s letter below.
Will this be enough to convince regular users of the service? One local rush-hour commuter said that although he accepted “occasional delays are inevitable,” there had “hardly been an incident-free day since Govia took over” – citing problems such as overcrowding on four-carriage trains, more frequent delays, and the odd cancellation due to “staff shortages”. Looks like Govia has some work to do to win over increasingly frustrated passengers.