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1997-08-15 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator

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Rail Regulator confirms enforcement action against National Rail Enquiry Service


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Office of the Rail Regulator
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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator confirms enforcement action against National Rail Enquiry Service
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related documents


1997-07-10 Regulator moves towards enforcement action over National Rail Enquiry Service (Office of the Rail Regulator)

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date
15 August 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/20


Train operators now face fines if the National Rail Enquiry Service (NRES) does not meet call answering targets over the next four weeks. Issuing a final enforcement order, Rail Regulator John Swift QC, today said that too many calls were still going unanswered.

Confirming his intention to proceed with the statutory enforcement process Mr Swift said, "Since I published notice of my proposed enforcement order in July, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has taken various steps to improve performance, with some success. However, although the percentage of calls answered has increased since the figures for April, May and June, too many calls are still going unanswered. Over the last three weeks performance has levelled off at around 82%, well below the 90% target figure.

"I have taken account of representations received, including those received today, but they have not persuaded me that I should not make a final order. I believe that operators have had every chance to avoid my putting in place a final order and that further delay would not be appropriate. I must emphasise that I hope that fines will not be necessary, and that this final order will give the added incentive for operators to reach performance targets and provide passengers with the service they have a right to expect.

"Performance will continue to be closely monitored," Mr Swift continued. "If targets are not reached between 17 August and 14 September, fines will be levied in accordance with the sliding scale I announced in July, and will continue to be levied until the target is achieved on a sustained and consistent basis. I will announce whether fines are to be levied soon after 14 September."



Notes to Editors

1. Today's final order is published under section 55 of the Railways Act 1993. A copy is attached for information.

2. On 24 June (Press Notice ORR/97/14) the Regulator began to monitor performance weekly and warned that performance would have to improve dramatically if operators were to avoid enforcement action. On 11 July (Press Notice ORR/97/17) he published a proposed enforcement order, giving the statutory 28 days for representations to be made. This notice period expired on 8 August.

3. The sliding scale for fines announced in July ensured that very poor performance would be more heavily penalised then performance which just missed the target:

For each percentage point of calls not answered between 85% and below 90%, the penalty would be £50,000.
For each percentage point of calls not answered between 75% and below 85%, the penalty would be £100,000.
For each percentage point of calls not answered below 75%, the penalty would be £200,000.
4. Performance figures since April have been: April 51%; May 65%; June 55%; July 71%.



RAILWAYS ACT 1993
NATIONAL RAIL ENQUIRY SCHEME

Since April this year, the franchised train operators have failed to ensure that calls to the National Rail Enquiry Scheme (the 0345 484950 number) are answered to the standard required by their licence. On 11 July 1997 the Regulator published a notice stating that he proposed to make an order, using his powers under Section 55 of the Railways Act 1993, against the franchised train operating companies to ensure that the performance standard is met. The notice invited representations and after considering those representations and taking into account the steps that have been agreed and are being taken to improve performance, the Regulator has decided to proceed with enforcment action by making the following order.

The order requires the franchised train operators listed below to ensure that 90% of calls made or up to 4.5 million calls in a 4 week period to the National Rail Enquiry Scheme are answered and to pay a penalty based on the percentage below 90% which are not answered.



RAILWAYS ACT 1993
Section 55 - Enforcement Order
National Rail Enquiry Scheme

Under section 55 of the Act I make the following order:

1 You, [franchised train operator], shall ensure that the calls made to the TEB telephone numbers used by the ATOC National Rail Enquiry Scheme ("NRES"), which is the arrangement for the operation of a telephone enquiry bureau for the purpose of condition 7.1(b) of your passenger licence, are answered in accordance with the Performance Standards.

2 For the purposes of determining whether you have complied with this order:

(a) the percentage of calls answered shall be the percentage of the calls made to the TEB telephone numbers in a Period which are answered;

(b) the number of calls made to the TEB telephone numbers shall be the number recorded by BT as having been made to those telephone numbers;

(c) without prejudice to the obligation in paragraph 1, the answering of 90% of calls made to the TEB telephone numbers or answering 4.5 million calls, whichever is the less shall be deemed to be compliance with the order in respect of that Period;

(d) a call shall be deemed not to have been answered:

(i) unless the caller receives a response to his enquiry; or

(ii) if the call is put on hold; and

(e) you shall not have failed to comply with of this order if the failure is a result of a Force Majeure Event.

3 Should you fail to comply with this order in respect of the Period commencing 17 August 1997, or any subsequent Period, you shall pay to me in respect of each failure a monetary penalty, within one month of demand, equal to an amount:

(a) where the number of calls made to the NRES number is equal to or greater than 5 million:

(i) where the number of calls answered is greater than or equal to 4.25 million but less than 4.5 million, of £50,000 for each percentage point (or part thereof) below 90% that is equal to the percentage of the number of calls answered expressed as a percentage of 5 million;

(ii) where the number of calls answered is greater than or equal to 3.75 million but less than 4.25 million, of £100,000 for each percentage point (or part thereof) below 85% that is equal to the percentage of the number of calls answered expressed as a percentage of 5 million; and

(iii) where the number of calls answered is less than 3.75 million, of £200,000 for each percentage point (or part thereof) below 75% that is equal to the percentage of the number of calls answered expressed as a percentage of 5 million; or

(b) where the number of calls made to the NRES number is less than 5 million:

(i) where the number of calls answered is greater than or equal to 85% of calls made but less than 90% of calls made of £50,000 for each percentage point (or part thereof) below 90%;

(ii) where the number of calls answered is greater than or equal to 75% of calls made but less than 85% of calls made, of £100,000 for each percentage point (or part thereof) below 85%; and

(iii) where the number of calls answered is less than 75% of calls made, of £200,000 for each percentage point (or part thereof) below 75%;

multiplied by your Attributed Percentage which is current for the financial year in which you have failed to comply with this order.

4 This order shall come into effect on 17 August 1997.

5 Expressions used in this order have the same meaning as given to those expressions in the NRES agreement.

John Swift
14 August 1997
Rail Regulator



Franchised train operators to whom the order relates:

Anglia Railways Train Services Ltd
Cardiff Railway Company Ltd
Central Trains Limited
The Chiltern Railway Company Limited
Connex South Central Ltd
Connex South Eastern Ltd
Gatwick Express Limited
Great Eastern Railway Limited
Great North Eastern Railway Limited
Great Western Trains Company Limited
Island Line Ltd
LTS Rail Limited
Merseyrail Electrics Limited
Midland Main Line Limited
Regional Railways North East Limited
North London Railways Limited
North Western Trains Company Limited
ScotRail Railways Limited
South Wales & West Railway Limited
South West Trains Limited
Thameslink Rail Limited
Thames Trains Limited
Cross Country Trains Limited
West Coast Trains Limited
West Anglia Great Northern Railway Limited


Railhub Archive ::: 1997-08-15 ORR-001





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