Changes for Monday 4 January
It’s now over a fortnight since we introduced major changes to the new timetable for c2c services. Since then, we have been measuring how it has performed using a variety of different metrics. We have also been working on what changes can be made to improve the overall service, in addition to the various alterations that have already been made.
We have been pleased with some of the key features of the new timetable. Our punctuality since the timetable was introduced currently sits at 95.9%, which is better than the average performance over the past year of every other train operator in the country. This figure includes the results from the first Monday and Tuesday of the timetable, both of which were down below 90%. If you follow us on Twitter, where we publish the previous day’s punctuality score each morning, you will know those particular days were well below our usual standard.
It is important that the new timetable is robust enough to deliver the level of punctuality that you and other customers have come to expect, and this does seem to be the case.
Another key metric is overcrowding. The Government measures the performance of all train companies using a statistic called “Passengers in Excess of Capacity”. This provides a figure for the peak service as a whole, highlighting how many more passengers there were travelling than the space available. The latter number is calculated on people standing for journeys of 20 minutes or more, and some people standing for shorter journeys.
In December 2014, our figure for passengers in excess of capacity was 7.0% in the AM peak, and 4.9% for the morning and evening peak combined. These figures made c2c the third-most crowded of all the train operators in London and the South East – and since then we have seen overall growth in passenger number of around 5%.
Obviously our trains have been much quieter since the Christmas getaway began, but the new timetable still seems to be performing against this test. On the last “normal” working days before Christmas the overcrowding levels were significantly lower than for 2014. On Wednesday 16 December the crowding was at 5.6% in the morning peak, and 3.9% for AM and PM peaks combined. On Thursday 17 December, once we had removed some stops at Barking and West Ham on the busiest trains, those figures became 4.0% and 2.7% respectively.
Despite this, we know that some individual trains have been particularly crowded, and your feedback on those services confirm this. Therefore we are making more changes from Monday 4 January, which should improve some of the busiest trains.
You can read the list of these additional changes here.
In effect, these changes provide two more trains starting at Laindon, to provide a better balance with other services starting at Leigh-on-Sea, Southend Central and Shoeburyness. Some of the busier trains are now longer, with carriages redistributed from those which have proven to be comparatively quiet. And we have provided extra services for school pupils travelling to and from Southend.
We now have a fully updated timetable available on the website here, which includes the changes highlighted above along with those that were previously made in the first two weeks of the new timetable.
I hope these latest changes do show how determined we are to provide a high-quality train service which delivers the most benefits for as many passengers as possible. The feedback we have received from passengers has been extremely important, and we have been listening to what you have said and acted where we can.
I know that many people have better things to do at this time of year than read a blog about train timetables. That means on Monday 4 January there will be some people adapting to the new-look timetable for the first time, and this may affect their journeys as a result.
Once this effect has settled down after a few days, many of the people who had encountered difficult journeys before Christmas should find that the situation has improved.
We are continuing to take a flexible approach to managing this timetable. Thank you for your patience while we strive to provide you with a train service that other passengers are envious of.
Delivery Director, c2c