MP demands more from train companies after figures reveal disparities between punctuality claims and reality
One of the borough's MPs has slammed rail services for publishing lateness figures he says do not tell the full story.
Train services publish lateness statistics that allow a five minute buffer for short services and a 10 minute buffer for longer services. Based on these standards, Southern and First Capital Connect, the two key operators serving Sutton, have punctuality rates of over 80 per cent.
But 'right-time' figures, which are published by Network Rail and count any service delayed by more than 59 seconds as being late, tell a different story. First Capital Connect, which claims a punctuality rate of 88.3 per cent, only manages to have 68 per cent of its trains arrive on time according to the right-time figures and Southern, which claims 88 per cent of its trains are on time, has a right-time percentage of just 55 per cent.
Sutton and Cheam MP has taken up the fight for more punctual trains and has written to First Capital Connect's director David Statham and called on him to improve services.
He said: "First Capital Connect are simply not providing value for money for the people of Sutton and Cheam. Given the huge cost that they pay for their season tickets, the least that commuters can expect is a service that gets them to work calmly and on time."
First Capital Connect spokesman Roger Perkins said: "We know that punctuality is the key driver of satisfaction with our service and, although the large majority of delays are caused by factors outside our control, such as signal failures, we are working hard with our industry partners to ensure trains run on time."
A spokesman for Southern added: "We are measured by the public performance measure which states that a train which reaches its destination up to 4 minutes 59 seconds of its published arrival time is deemed to be on time.
"However, we do not use this measure as a target and our aim is for every train to reach its destination at the time specified in the published timetable.
"The right-time figure is a moving annual average and takes into account performance over the past 12 months. This includes the autumn and winter periods which are traditionally problematic, and it is not indicative of recent performance."
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