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Railhub Archive
1998-03-26 OPR-001


New counts show surge in London commuter traffic

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New counts show surge in London commuter traffic

related documents

Operator counts


26 March 1998
source OPRAF
type Press release

The number of people commuting to the capital by train is approaching levels not seen since the boom days of the late 1980s according to OPRAF figures released today.

Five out of the ten train operating companies serving London are either at, or in excess of, OPRAF's peak hour overcrowding limits. Discussions are at an advanced stage to identify ways of creating more capacity to cope with the extra numbers.

OPRAF's rules stipulate that the numbers of passengers in excess of capacity must not exceed 4.5% of the total number of passengers in either the morning or evening peaks - and no more than 3% over the two peaks combined.

Based on counts carried out between October 1997 and February 1998 the operators identified as having reached or exceeded their load thresholds are:
Train Company Av. no of passengers in excess of capacity both peaks combined (threshold 3.0%).
Connex South Central 4.8
Thameslink 4.4
South West Trains 3.8
Great Eastern 3.3
Connex South Eastern 3.0

The other operators for which OPRAF has set overcrowding standards - Chiltern, Silverlink, LTS, Thames Trains and West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN) - are all currently within their limits, although there has been a significant growth in passenger numbers over the last year for all operators.

There are a number of options that can be considered to control overcrowding, including additional or longer trains and altered stopping patterns. Peak demand can also be spread by special ticket offers, for example cheap early morning season tickets. In the longer term, extra capacity can be provided in some cases by lengthening platforms to allow operation of longer trains and by providing extra track capacity. However such projects take considerable time to develop and implement.

John O'Brien, the Franchising Director, commented: "What we are seeing is almost unprecedented growth in train usage, with passenger numbers overall up 8.9% in the combined morning and evening peaks over last year, reflecting both increased employment in central London and effective marketing by some of the operators.
"I am already in discussion with the operators, the LRPC and the RUCCs to agree urgent action plans to tackle the severest overcrowding and to determine what options will be taken.
"Last month OPRAF agreed a way forward with Connex South Central, who are providing an extra 2,300 seats as part of a published plan to control overcrowding on their franchise. We are now at an advanced stage in agreeing action plans with Thameslink, Great Eastern, South Eastern and South West Trains".

Notes To Editors
1. A table detailing the results of the counts for all ten operators is attached [[see related documents]].
2. Connex South Central and some Connex South Eastern overcrowding
measures were announced by OPRAF and Connex on 9 February 1998.
(Connex contact number 0171 620 5080).
3. All train operators have to make reasonable endeavours to control
overcrowding under their franchise agreement signed with OPRAF. A strict
bespoke regime - Passengers in Excess of Capacity [PIXC] - applies to
London commuter services and certain other areas at peak times.
4. The train operating company (TOC) mus t conduct an annual autumn count
and OPRAF can order recounts if necessary. Results are compared with the
contractual limit and the TOC must agree with OPRAF a timetable/train plan
to comply with the limit over the next year, and subsequently throughout the
franchise term.
5. The contractual limit is expressed as a percentage. From the annual
counts, the number of passengers in excess of capacity must be no more
than 4.5% of the total number of passengers on the trains in the morning or
evening peaks (and no more than 3% in the two peaks combined).
6. Capacity is deemed to be the number of standard class seats on the train
for journeys of more than 20 minutes; for journeys of less than 20 minutes an
allowance for standing room is also made

Railhub Archive ::: 1998-03-26 OPR-001


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