Thursday, 25 July 2013

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.... overcrowding between Birmingham and London?

So +Chiltern Railways apparently join +London Midland in running an overcrowded service between Birmingham and London.... According to the Department of Transport, the 0619 Chiltern Service from Moor Street had a 155% standard class load factor on arrival in Marylebone during the Autumn of 2012 (making it no. 6 in the top ten list of 'most overcrowded' services) whilst the 1813 LM departure from Euston ran at 165% standard class load factor on leaving (making it no. 2).

Of course the 0619 no longer runs, whilst the 1813 is 'only' overcrowded until its first stop at Leighton Buzzard so passengers of both companies travelling between Birmingham and London can ignore the media (and governmental) hype and be assured that their journey - whatever the time of day - will be in relative comfort...

For those who like digging deeper into the stories behind the headlines, the actual statistical report makes fascinating reading... In particular, this explanatory paragraph caught my eye:

Paddington and Marylebone had the highest levels of PiXC* despite having below average levels of passengers standing. A large number of services into both of these terminals travel for more than 20 minutes between their final stop and the terminal and so do not have standing allowances included in their standard class capacities. This means that a significant part of the PiXC seen on these routes represents passengers having to stand for more than 20 minutes rather than necessarily having to travel in cramped conditions.
* Passengers In Excess of Capacity (PIXC) only applies to weekday commuter trains arriving in London between 07:00 and 09:59 and those departing between 16:00 and 18:59.

Which would you rather do: stand for more than 20 minutes or travel in cramped conditions? Who'd run a railway when the Government sets the parameters and then blames the companies for matters largely outside their control...

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