The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been fined £13.4m (EUR 15.2 million) for poor performance of the Southern franchise. The government said the fine would have been higher, but most of the delays had not been Southern’s fault, because strikes and unprecedented levels of sick leave were also factors in the delays.
According to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, “performance on Southern has improved dramatically since Christmas, as the disruption from union activity has decreased. But that performance is still not good enough.” The transport secretary added the £13.4m was to be spent on “performance and passenger improvements”, including £4m (EUR 4.5 million) to fund 50 on-board supervisors over the next two years.
“The settlement acknowledges that the industrial action taken by the trade unions has been a major contributor to the disruption experienced by passengers in the past year, and we welcome the fact that a significant proportion of our claim was recognised,” a spokesman for GTR said.