Struggling rail operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has been given a ‘public target’ to improve its poor performance, Transport for the North has announced.
Targets were agreed by Northern leaders in January after TPE returned the worst performance figures in the country, with fewer than half of services meeting basic performance targets. The rail operator struggled with the late delivery of new trains.
Transport for the North’s new targets will aim to rebuild passenger trust and confidence in TPE services. The benchmark performance targets include:
- Returning performance to early 2019 levels by March 2020, with further improvements by summer 2020 – TPE’s Public Performance Measure of reliability and punctuality stood at 86% in the first six months on 2019, compared with a score of just 45% in November 2019.
- Showing clear progress in restoring cancelled services and returning to a full timetable as new trains come into services.
- Showing clear progress in local communication to passengers
In a press release announcing the targets for TPE, Transport for the North’s Strategic Rail Director, David Hoggarth said:
Passengers in the North of England must have a rail service they can rely on. In the run-up to Christmas last year TPE simply failed to provide what was needed. The operator must now build back trust and deliver what is needed. The new trains are welcome, and the extra capacity they bring is much needed, but service levels must be maintained as they come on stream.”
The new targets have been announced two weeks after the government announced that Arriva Rail North would lose its franchise after long-term poor punctuality and reliability figures of Northern Rail services. There have been calls for the same action to be taken against TPE as a result of its poor service also.