Southern issues temporary revised timetable to reduce impact of cancellations
5 July 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
Southern has issued a temporary revised weekday timetable to reduce the impact of cancellations and delays for passengers and staff.
As of Monday 11 July 2016, rail operator Southern will put in place a revised weekday timetable in reaction – to what it calls – ‘unpredictable and late notice cancellations caused daily by unprecedented levels of train crew sickness and unwillingness among others to work overtime’.
The commuter route which runs between London, Sussex and east Surrey and includes services in parts of Kent, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, has been experiencing ongoing cancellations and delays due to a dispute between parent company Govia Thameslink (GTR) and the RMT union, on the role of its on-board staff which will see drivers close train doors instead of conductors. The proposed implementation of driver-only operated (DOO) services has led to industrial action.
The operator said it is taking action to encourage staff back to work and working with the Government to introduce more generous passenger compensation.
341 Southern trains cancelled in revised timetable
In total, 341 trains have been cancelled in the revised timetable which is says is ‘broadly similar to the number being cancelled ad hoc today but: the bulk of the train service will be delivered when people need it most by targeting available traincrew to the busiest lines and times of day, and by minimising gaps between trains wherever possible’
The operator has stressed that 95 percent of the capacity in Victoria Station in both the morning and evening peaks will be achieved, along with 86 percent and 84 percent of the morning and evening peak capacity into London Bridge
The revised temporary weekday timetable will run until train crew availability returns to normal. To encourage staff back to work, Southern is also giving conductors back their leisure travel passes and restoring the mutual shift swap system which gives them flexibility in their working patterns.
“We are introducing this temporary weekday revised timetable with reluctance”
Southern Passenger Services Director Alex Foulds said: “We are introducing this temporary weekday revised timetable with reluctance but it is the best thing we can do for our passengers who have been suffering daily cancellations ever since this dispute with the RMT began, and for which we are sincerely sorry.
“Whilst our first priority is our passengers, we also understand that this has been a difficult time for our staff. Conductors already know that their jobs are guaranteed, that there will be no reduction in salary and that the independent rail safety body has confirmed our plans are safe.
“Now, after listening to our staff, we have also decided to restore leisure travel benefits. All of this, we believe, should help our staff feel able to return to work and so reduce the issues causing the current high level of train cancellations.”
According to reports the RMT Union will continue strike action until Southern is prepared to compromise.
Further information regarding the revised timetable can be found here.