Unfortunately, like elsewhere in the UK and across parts of the rail network, the latest strain of Covid 19 is causing a spike in short-notice sickness and some of our drivers are unavailable. This means there will be times when we can’t run some of our trains.
To illustrate, from the end of June compared to now, short-term sickness has doubled. This correlates with the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics infection survey results which suggest an increasing trend in cases for the southeast, with a 43% rise over the last week reported. In addition, ONS estimated rates by age nationally show infections are highest in the 50- to 69- year-old group at 5.1%, which is the age range of many of our drivers.
Of course, we do manage our rosters in a planned way. This allows flexibility for some degree of sickness and allows for higher demand for leave during the school holidays, but this large spike in sickness at the same as when more people tend to take their leave allowance really reduces our flexibility in covering services, and particularly when the sickness is at short notice.
With more people on annual leave at this time of year, there are fewer people to work overtime and provide cover for colleagues who are off sick.
We’re really sorry if this affects your journey. We’ll always try to find another driver, but unfortunately, it’s not always possible and services will need to be cancelled. We’re doing our best to spread services and provide alternative travel advice although normally it’s best to wait for the next train.
Please check before you travel and if you are delayed by 15 minutes or more then please apply for Delay Repay compensation.