Written statement to Parliament

Transparency - train punctuality information

Additional punctuality information of train services released.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Norman Baker

In line with the government’s transparency agenda, and the commitments made in the command paper ‘Reforming our railways: putting the customer first’, additional information will from today (10 July 2012) be made available by the Office of Rail Regulation and Network Rail about the punctuality of train services.

In addition to the existing Public Performance Measure (PPM), which indicates the proportion of train services arriving at their destination within 5 or 10 minutes, for short and long distance services respectively, information will now be published on trains which are ‘right time’ at their final destination - that is, which arrive early or within a minute of the due time.

PPM is and will remain the government’s and industry’s key measure of rail punctuality and reliability:

  • it recognises the different passenger expectations and operating practicalities between short and long distance services
  • it incentivises the industry to ensure that the vast majority of services - significantly over 90% - get to their destination at or close to time
  • it gives the industry essential flexibility to manage minor operational disruption, which would not be possible with an absolute on time measure

But the coalition government recognises that passengers want more information about their services, including whether they are actually on time, and that is why ministers have asked the industry to develop plans to provide this. We welcome the positive response which it has now made.

As a first step, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is today publishing annual statistics on right time performance at industry sector level - ie long distance, London and South East, and Regional (including Scotland), going back to 2001 to 2002. Network Rail (NR) will from now on be updating these figures for each industry period, alongside the main PPM measure.

These figures show that, for the network as a whole in 2011 to 2012, 69.8% of trains arrived ‘right time’, compared with 91.6% meeting the PPM target. This is a high level of performance by historical standards and represents a significant improvement over the last five years, compared with 62.7% right time and 88.1% PPM in 2006 to 2007. Overall, the average delay incurred by passengers is now around 2 minutes.

Results of the Spring 2012 National Passenger Survey just published by Passenger Focus showed very high levels of satisfaction with rail travel in this country (Great Britain). Nationally the percentage of passengers satisfied with their journey overall was 83%, and for punctuality and reliability it stood at 81%.

Right time information is generated by existing industry signalling systems, but these were not designed for precise monitoring of time-keeping, and there is some uncertainty over the accuracy of the data at individual operator level, so ORR is commissioning an urgent independent study into this.

In the light of that study, it is intended that right time information will be published at operator level from October 2012. In addition, Network Rail announced on 28 June that it was making available real time information on the reliability of individual trains, making it possible to analyse train performance at a far more granular level.

This will put our railway in the forefront of the transparency agenda, providing more information on punctuality and reliability for passengers than any other European country.

A good deal of information is also published on other key transport modes in this country, and the coalition government is keen to see further progress on transparency over time.

Published 10 July 2012