Train company says it will beat its time targets

Train companies have been set punctuality levels
Train companies have been set punctuality levels
Breakdown workers preparing to haul out of the sea one of the cars involved in an accident on the Havant by-pass

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Havant by-pass cars plunge into the sea

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SOUTH West Trains says it is confident of maintaining punctuality percentages that keep it ahead of new national targets.

The new targets were set yesterday by an independent body in its final determination report.

The Office of Rail Regulation has said that between April 2014 and 2019, all train operators, including South West Trains and Southern Railways, have to ensure 90 per cent of their trains are on time and that the number of cancellations is kept below 2.2 per cent.

But South West Trains is confident it can keep its number of services on time at 91.5 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: ‘We operate one of the most heavily-used rail networks in Europe and even with that challenging high volume of services, our train performance continues to be higher than the UK average.

‘Latest statistics show our punctuality is running at 91.5 per cent.’

The train company also said it will work hard if problems do arise. The spokeswoman added: ‘We are not complacent.

‘We understand the impact that even the smallest delays can have on our passengers, and we are working hard to get even better.

‘We have major schemes in place to improve signalling, power supply and the tracks. This work will help make passenger journeys more reliable.’

But Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, thinks the train operator must strive to improve even if it is reaching targets.

Ms Mordant said: ‘It is important that South West Trains improves its service even though they are meeting their targets.

‘It is well-known that their customers have been short-changed over the years so I think they have to try to carry on improving the service.

‘I am very keen to see performance targets introduced because at the moment the service is poor value for money.

‘Unlike other businesses, rail services don’t have competition.

‘If you want to get to London in one and a half hours, you only have one service.

‘The new targets will ensure the services work hard to provide the best quality to its customers.’