Slump in revenue for go-ahead amid Southern Railway strikes
20 April 2017
The group behind strike-hit Southern Railway has said it is delivering a "more reliable" service to commuters, but added that passenger revenue has slumped following a long-running industrial dispute.
Go-Ahead, which runs Southern through its Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) business, said in a trading update that passenger revenue on the service fell 5% in the nine months to April 1.
Passenger journeys on GTR were down 3.5%.
However, the firm said its service has now "stabilised".
"Service levels have stabilised following the previous periods of industrial action, delivering more reliable rail services to customers.
"Discussions between GTR and the Aslef and the RMT unions continue with the aim of resolving the ongoing industrial disputes.
"GTR remains fully committed to resolving these issues so as to provide improved service for customers and reduce uncertainty for our stakeholders."
In February the firm warned over profits after a year of crippling industrial action, revealing full-year rail profits could be impacted by up to £15 million amid ongoing uncertainty over union relations.
Southern has been involved in a bitter dispute with unions over proposals for so-called driver-only operated trains, with conductors holding several strikes in the past year, while drivers have separately walked out due to the row.
The firm added: “Discussions are ongoing with the DfT regarding a number of contractual variations; management’s judgment around these discussions and the potential impact on rail profitability for the full year remains consistent with the guidance outlined at the half-year results.”
Go-Ahead also reported a slowdown in growth on its Southeastern franchise and said a cost efficiency programme has been implemented to offset a revenue shortfall.
Passenger revenue in the franchise rose 3% but journeys fell 0.5%.
Go-Ahead’s bus division, meanwhile, saw revenue rise 1.5%
Shares in Go-Ahead were up nearly 6% in morning trading as investors digested the news.
Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire