Are Southeastern twisting “on time” stats through timetable padding?
Figures on train arrival times have long been dodgy and unreliable. A train is not classed as late if less than five minutes late – so how to get around that? Well, whack on a few extra minutes into the timetable between the penultimate and final destination so running late often magically becomes “on time”.
This is common at peak times. A journey that takes, say two minutes, will be timetabled as three or four minutes throughout the day. But in the peak it rises further.
There’s now some ridiculous padding going into timetables to make stats look good – and the stats entirely unreliable.
One example is Waterloo East to Charing Cross. It takes two minutes. It’s timetabled at two minutes off-peak. Come the peak and it’s suddenly timetabled at nine minutes – more than four times as long as the reality.
Thus a train running 10 minutes late is suddenly less than five minutes late and on time.
Note also how the two to three minutes between London Bridge and Waterloo East becomes five minutes.
And this has occurred after billions were spent on providing more through-lines and platforms to Southeastern as London Bridge was rebuilt.
It’s the same with trains to Cannon Street with times doubled from London Bridge:
The same happens Kent-bound at Dartford, Gravesend and other stations. The statistics are a nonsense. Manipulation renders them moot.