This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition A Petition for Southern Rail (Govia Thameslink Railway) Franchise Review.

(Govia Thameslink Railway) franchise are the worst performing operator for the last 12 months and are providing an unacceptable level of service to their passengers on the Southern Rail Network.We are calling for a formal review of this operator.

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The public performance measure (PPM) for Network Rail, for Govia for the last 12 months is 82.1% against the national average of 89.5%. For the latest period 8 for 2015/16 Govia is only 74.1% against the national average of 84.3%.

This company's punctuality and level of customer service is severely lacking and is damaging the lives and economy of those served by this operator. Using London Bridge development is not an excuse, as the Victoria services are also unacceptable.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 7 June 2016

Govia Thameslink Railway are delivering plans to reverse decades of under-investment on the rail network. A further review into GTR will not address the challenges that their plans intend to overcome.

Read the response in full

The challenges of this part of the network are not new. The industry and Government are addressing the longstanding, historic problems, including driver shortages, rolling stock and network capacity. By 2018 we expect to return the network to the performance that all passengers deserve, and we will do it with increased capacity, renewed facilities and robust, durable infrastructure.

This part of the network is extremely complex; indeed it is one of the busiest in Europe. Punctuality on this part of the network has always proven challenging due to the complexity of the infrastructure and the volume of services that operate on it. However, we know that passengers are very frustrated about performance and the service they receive.

The Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise incorporates an unprecedented level of investment in the network. The introduction of new trains, new infrastructure and new ways of working is intended to reverse decades of under-investment on this part of the network and provide passengers with more capacity on more reliable services. Given the recent growth in passenger demand, maintaining the status quo is not an option. But the transformation cannot occur overnight. It will take time and close management across the industry to ensure improvements are delivered to passengers.

Using the contractual mechanisms available, the Secretary of State served a Remedial Plan notice to GTR last year. In response, GTR have developed a Remedial Plan in response which includes obligations for GTR to recruit and train sufficient drivers to operate current and future timetables, improve reliability of rolling stock and provide better customer information. Passengers are still likely to see disruption occurring in the short term as these plans take time to implement, however taking the franchise away from GTR will not help resolve the issues. This would only create a period of uncertainty for passengers and staff alike. While there are plans in place that are addressing the situation, it is right to allow the current operator the time to address and work through the issues.

The Franchise Agreement sets out the steps the Secretary of State must take should GTR not meet its contractual performance benchmarks. There are further actions available to the Secretary of State should GTR not meet their obligations and be in breach of its Franchise Agreement. At that point the Department will follow its published enforcement process.

Whilst we understand the frustration felt by passengers affected by disruption, we would like to assure you that the Department for Transport is determined to see further improvements and for GTR to provide the service that passengers expect.

Department for Transport

Other parliamentary business

Transport Committee inquiry into the rail passenger experience

You may be interested to know that the House of Commons Transport Committee is currently looking into the rail passenger experience.

The Committee wants to identify recommendations to improve the main aspects of a rail journey from the perspective of the passenger: from planning a journey, arriving at a station, making the journey, and any necessary post-journey information.

The Committee is asking for written submissions on, and recommendations to improve, the following issues:

-Information provided to passengers before, during and after rail journeys, including information provided at stations, in trains and via National Rail Enquiries, operators' websites and online apps (excluding in relation to the process for claiming compensation for a delay/cancellation)

-Ticketing, including overcoming obstacles to the more widespread delivery of "smart-ticketing" and part-time season tickets

-In-train facilities, including on-journey Wi-Fi and power

-Performance measures in relation to passenger experience, including passenger survey methodologies

-Mechanisms to hold operators to account for poor performance and spread the best practice across the industry

The Committee will not be looking at the process for claiming compensation for a delay or cancellation as part of this inquiry. It will do so separately later on.

While the Committee welcomes submissions addressing the terms of reference from individual rail passengers, please note that the Committee is not able to take up individual cases. If you wish to complain about a poor experience when travelling by train you should contact the relevant train company. If you are dissatisfied with the train company's response, you should contact either Transport Focus or London Travel Watch, as appropriate.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 25 May 2016.

You can find out more about the Committee's inquiry, including how to send a submission on its website:

The Transport Committee is a cross-party group of MPs responsible for scrutinising the policy, administration and expenditure of the Government Department for Transport and its associated public bodies. You can find out more about the work of the Committee on its website:

You can follow the Transport Committee on Twitter: @CommonsTrans

You can watch a short video about how Select Committees work here:

You can find out more about how to send a submission to a Select Committee here:

There are other ways you can get involved in the work of the UK Parliament.

Find out how to contact your MP or a Lord, contribute to Parliamentary Committees, and search for free Parliament events taking place in your local area here:

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MPs debate Govia Thameslink Rail Service

On 12 September, MPs debated the Govia Thameslink Rail Service.

You can read the debate here:

You can watch the debate here:

This was an "adjournment debate". Henry Smith MP successfully entered a ballot system for this debate. This is one way backbench MPs can get debates in Parliament. You can find out more about adjournment debates on the Parliament website:

On Monday 5 September, the Government made a written statement to the House of Commons to update MPs on Govia Thameslink.

You can read the statement on the Hansard website:

Statements are a way for the Government to inform MPs about major incidents, policies and actions. You can find out more about statements here: