The Strategist

British trains will be fined for being late

06/21/2016 - 16:10

Starting from 2019, British railway companies will be fined for being late, even for one minute. The British government wants to change the current system in which trains are considered being in time even if they are 10 minutes late. Last year only 64% of trains in the country came on time to the destination station (i.e. within 59 seconds after the time specified in the schedule).

According to British newspaper The Times, the UK authorities intend to introduce new rules for railway companies to increase number of trains arriving on time. According to the initiative, railway companies will be fined even if their train was only a minute late. The authorities want to combat a practice common nowadays, when a train is reckoned arrived in time even if it had a backlog of up to 10 minutes. The authorities can also fine Network Rail company, manages the railway infrastructure, if it fails to ensure that a sufficient number of trains arrive at the destination station on time. In 2014, the company has been fined a record £ 53.1 mln.

It is now believed that a train has arrived in time, if it missed no more than 5 minutes; the interim for long-distance trips is no more than 10 minutes. In the past year, only 89% of trains in the UK arrived on time in accordance with standards. Let us assume, however, that all trains, which have not arrived at the destination station within 59 seconds after the time specified in the schedule, are latecomers. Then, the number of trains came on time is reduced to 64% of the national average. Some railway companies has even worse indicators. For example, trains of CrossCountry company came in time only in 42.9% of cases; trains of Grand Central - in 45,1%, First Hull Trains - in 46% of cases.

The new system should be enacted during three years. The Rail Delivery Group, which includes railway companies and Network Rail, proposed to introduce new rules in April 2019. The new system will take into account arrival at all stations of the route, not just to the final destination, as it is now. Joanna Whittington, Interim CEO at ORR (Office of Rail and Road) said: "It seems to me that the system of regarding trains that are late for 10 minutes to be recorded as on time undermines public confidence in it. It is absolutely incomprehensible for people." The Times cited sources in the industry, which said introduction of the new system means that trains in the UK will have to act in a more stringent time frame in comparison with continental Europe and other modes of transport in the country, including buses and airplanes.